LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Professor Kenneth Koch [CCT, November 2002] taught me to use words
more carefully in his “History of Dramatic Poetry” class.
Each of my pathology reports bears his influence. Reading poetry
is one of my greatest joys. Few, if any, teachers have had a greater
impact on me. He will be deeply missed.
Mitchell Wachtel ’81
College Station, Texas
More on the Core
I enjoyed your editorial, “The Evolving Core,” as well
as your article on the new General Science course in the November
2002 issue of CCT, and I applaud the continuing evolution of the
Core Curriculum and the introduction of new bodies of knowledge
into the Core. During my undergraduate years at Columbia (1946–50),
there were CC A1 and A2, CC B1 and B2, Humanities A1 and A2, Humanities
B1 and B2, the latter as I recall devoted to music, art and architecture.
That was about it.
I also was interested in your mention of a future intercultural
course in keeping with the growing multiculturalism of the world
in which we live and seek to educate ourselves. This certainly ties
in with the presence of an Intercultural Resource Center at Columbia,
which I recently learned about when I had occasion to correspond
with its director.
Incidentally, in David Lehman ’70’s story on Kenneth
Koch, I was rather intrigued by the phrase, “Prudhomme on
time,” appearing in Prof. Koch’s poem at the end of
the article. Attempting to decipher to whom the professor was referring,
I decided it was unlikely to be a person who in olden times was
regarded as an arbitrator. Reflecting upon the other notable Prudhommes
of which I’m aware, I finally concluded that this probably
refers to Don Prudhomme, the race car driver, for whom “time”
would be a most important consideration.
Best wishes for the holiday season and for the continuing excellence
Bernard Prudhomme ’50
Since you mention adding a general science course to the Core Curriculum,
which is a good idea, please allow me to take this opportunity to
express my dismay at [Columbia] having dropped CC-B from the required
Core liberal arts curriculum. Perhaps the least popular of all the
Core courses, when it came to understanding the world in which I
lived, this was the most valuable of all of them. But it took me
a few years after graduation to recognize this.
Jack Eisenberg ’62
[Editor’s note: The two semesters known as CC-B, which
focused on modern history, were dropped in the 1960s. A two-semester
Cultures requirement, involving the study of cultures and civilizations
of Asia, Africa and Latin America, was introduced in the 1990s.]
I find it regrettable that in paying tribute to a distinguished
member of the Columbia English faculty, those who publish Columbia
College Today were not able to avoid the solecism found on
the cover of the November 2002 issue (and repeated in the table
of contents). The adverb “since” must modify a verb
in the present perfect, or possibly past perfect tense. If it seemed
inappropriate to say “Koch has liberated the imaginations
... since joining ... ” because he no longer does so, then
perhaps “Koch liberated the imaginations ... after joining,”
or possibly “upon joining,” could have been substituted.
The problem appears to stem from an attempt to mimic the sentence
in the text of the article, “Koch had liberated ... since
joining ... ” This sentence is itself mildly suspect (if the
liberation was ongoing, then “had been liberating” is
more appropriate), but at least matches tense to modifier correctly.
Colin Campbell ’90
New Brunswick, N.J.
Thank you very much for your excellent publication. The magazine
has an outstanding balance of topics and is appealing as well in
terms of its format. Columbia College students work hard to obtain
their degrees and this alumni/alumnae magazine is a wonderful reward
for their efforts.
Arthur L. Thomas ’50
recent letters have lambasted Columbia’s athletic teams for
their losing records. Whether it’s alumni, students, coaches
or the athletes themselves, most would agree that winning is more
fun than losing. I get uneasy, however, when alumni put pressure
on the College to produce winning athletic teams.
A huge state university with 30,000 undergraduates can recruit
top athletes without significantly affecting the make-up of its
student body. Small, coeducational, undergraduate schools with dozens
of teams to fill simply can’t effectively recruit top athletes
without a disproportionate emphasis on admitting student athletes.
While Columbia undoubtedly could attract such athletes, it would
be at the expense of a more diverse student body. Students with
interests in the arts, music, theatre, religion, journalism and
community service may be just as committed to their endeavors but
rarely receive the special consideration afforded to athletes.
College athletics should be fun and a relief from the intense pressures
of attending a world class academic institution. It should foster
an appreciation for life-long healthful physical activity. It should
not be about my couch potato ambitions of seeing alma mater beat
Mark Hoffman ’76
CCT welcomes letters from readers about articles in the
magazine, but cannot print or personally respond to all letters
received. All letters are subject to editing for space and
clarity. Please direct letters for publication “to the
Editor, Columbia College Today
475 Riverside Dr., Ste 917
New York, NY 10115-0998
Telephone: (212) 870-2752
Fax: (212) 870-2747