for the Future
Fredrick K. Orkin GM72 WG76 Hummelstown, Pa
Permeates Spectors Life
What the article does not convey, however, is the vitality which permeates the way Ruthie lives her life. She has such a magnetic persona, invigorating all those around her. She has always had such boundless energy, a fantastic smile, and a way of making all those around her feel like one of her closest friends.
The amazing thing is that she was this way both before and after she was diagnosed with leukemia. I remember vividly every resident and attending in our department volunteering to be typed for the bone marrow registry. Each day that passed with an unsuccessful match was met with dismay by the entire hospital staff. But Ruthie never strayed from the path of positive thinking.
Ruth Spectors roller-coaster ride with leukemia, in my opinion, is every bit as much about the power of perseverance as it is about the miracle of modern medicine.
Jason S. James C95 Miami
Thank you for printing such a thought-provoking essay.
Cornelius D. Helfrich W61 Bel Air, Md
Chris Duston C87 Tokyo, Japan
None of us has yet achieved that position, but the point is taken: no one except those who have a close connection with the University of Pennsylvania should be considered for the next president. That is one of the prerequisites for the post [Gazetteer, November/December].
There are two others: the person must be extraordinarily bright. While it is true that the president of the United States is probably better off if he or she is not terribly bright, there is no such leeway for the president of a major university. The reason is that the person must enjoy talking with other bright people, be they faculty, students, or others.
The third prerequisite is that the person understand the nature of the position: it is to nourish learning within the University with a ruthless hand while competing for monies to support such learning.
There are, undoubtedly, thousands of people who are well qualified to become our next president. Many would be eager to become so. Others would be willing if the price is right. A few could be persuaded if pressed. None of them will be ideal.
To those of us who grew up, intellectually, at the University of Chicago, the template for a university president is Robert Maynard Hutchins, who was Chicagos president and later chancellor from 1929 through 1951. During his tenure, a special academic march honoring the visit of Albert Schweitzer to the university was made. Standing close to both Hutchins and Schweitzer, a spectator only, I was able to observe both men at a long delay in the procession.
As they made small talk I was struck with the overwhelming presence both men had. Not pomposity, indeed just the opposite, not arrogance or false modesty. Presence. If you wish to do better than adequate, look for that.
Edwin T. Haefele Emeritus FACULTY, Alliance, Ne
Kept Quiet on Justice Talking
Missing from the article, however, was any mention of Penns important partnership with the Center to further both academic scholarship and citizen education on the Constitutional controversies that confront us today. One of the more visible pieces of the partnership includes NPRs Justice Talking, a nationally syndicated weekly radio production of Penns Annenberg Public Policy Center.
It is also one of the ways the Penn community can participate in the partnering programs. The Penn community is invited to attend the tapings of Justice Talking, which involve debates between some of the nations leading advocates. For those who have not yet been to either the museum or a taping, both are well worth a trip.
Looking for a Fellowship?
I am the grants manager for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and would be happy to speak with any student, faculty, or administrator at Penn interested in learning more about the scholarships. Information is also available on our Web site (www.jackkentcookefoundation.org).
R. Cory Cresiski C98 EAS98 Arlington, VA
Oleg N. Dudkin ME48 Berwyn, PA
However, some of the letters in the November/December issue written in response to the essay were needlessly insulting, and replaced discussion with ad hominem attack. For example, one writer called the essayist a fraud and [a] phony and suggested that she try to infiltrate MENSA and pretend she has intelligence.
When I see that sort of personal attack in the corporate world, it strikes me as harmful and without any benefit in the discussion. It is particularly out of place in our University community, and in response to somethingwrong as it may or may not bewritten by an undergraduate many years younger than the writer of these words.
Steve Sokolow C77 Tenafly, NJ
Rationalization Rings False
I am much more concerned by your contention that because Josselyn was not required to promise silence, there was no requirement not to write publicly about what she saw. Relying solely on requirements to navigate emotionally charged personal situations is absurd. Josselyn can be forgiven for a lapse in judgmentshe apparently failed to understand that people at an AA meeting might have a reasonable expectation of privacy. But her professor, the Gazettes editor, and probably others involved, had plenty of opportunity to put on the brakes and stop publication of a potentially invasive (and definitely disrespectful) article.
I strongly disagree that there is no difference between Josselyn witnessing a meeting in person, and thousands of Gazette readers doing so vicariously through her words. There is a difference. As citizens, we dont expect that our personal conversations at the office water-cooler or in the doctors waiting room will become fodder for public discussion, even thinly disguised. In some cases they may, but I believe a writer has a responsibility to respect the implicit trust that all citizens place in each other.
Beyond simply checking on requirements, it is appropriate to carefully consider the morality and ethics of broadcasting private interactions before doing so. For example, there is no law prohibiting me from renting a billboard and plastering it with a transcript of the cell-phone conversation on divorce negotiation that I overheard on my train ride home. But many people would agree that doing so would show excessively poor judgment on my part.
Its too bad the writing and publishing professionals involved in this incident didnt exercise better judgment themselves. It would have been a nice model for a young student such as Josselyn. As it is, I hope sheand youdevelop the ability to make better judgments as a result of this lousy one.
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock CGS99 Bryn Mawr, PA
Embarrassment to Penn
First, the right of privacy and the expectation of that right is guaranteed by the Constitution. Check with the Law School. Second, I can only imagine that anyone attending an AA meeting goes with the specific expectation of privacy. Other letter writers indicated that this is a premise of all meetings. Why else would they feel they can be candid? Trust is not to be trifled with by anyone, least of all your immature writer and you as a careless and defensive editor.
Your use of the word mere is an embarrassment to Penn, and I ask you to rethink your words, to choose them more carefully in the future and, finally, to apologize about this particular use. I will cancel my subscription otherwise and, while I am not much of a donor, my outstanding indication of intent to give $100 will be cancelled and no further gifts made.
Yes, I am serious. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Lee Tarlow Miller C79 New York
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