space holder Next month's letters | February Contents | Gazette home space holder
letters overline
A broken streak, age discrimination, more on violence.

PENNSYLMANIA PROTEST
Several readers wrote in to register their disappointment -- and, in one or two cases, stronger emotions -- over the absence of "Pennsylmania" in the December issue. We thought this letter best expressed the sentiments of the fans of the puzzle and its long-time maker, Dr. Nicholas D. Constan, Jr, L'64. -- Ed.

All great streaks must come to an end. The great Penn football and basketball teams of the early 1990s lost Ivy League games after outstanding athletes graduated. Joe DiMaggio did not get a hit in the 57th consecutive game. Someday Cal Ripken's name will be missing from the Orioles boxscore.
To my disappointment, a similar streak ended in last February's edition of the Gazette. After 180 consecutive appearances, a streak that has lasted since I graduated from Wharton, Dr. Nicholas Constan's "Pennsylmania" is "on hiatus." Of all the features in the Gazette, this was my favorite. I could always look forward to the challenge of filling in the clues and parsing out the quotation in the puzzle.
In addition, I'd like to say a few words about Professor Constan. I took two of his business law courses while I was an undergraduate. He was a truly rare combination: a professor who knew his subject, who delivered the material understandably, and who deeply cared about his students. His long record of outstanding service to Penn, both as a teacher and as an administrator, should be recognized. "Pennsylmania" was just the icing on the cake.
On behalf of all "Pennsylmania" fans, I want to thank Professor Constan for all his efforts for all these years.
RALPH L. LANDY, W'79, L'84
Gaithersburg, Md.

EQUAL TIME FOR OLDER GRADS
Two mild complaints about the editorial judgment demonstrated in recent editions of the Gazette.
I realize there are limits to the size of each issue but I do think the column or two on Penn sports and scores is well worth including. Not a word in the December issue. Though the football season was not quite a highlight, still sports is an important part of University life, especially for old grads.
When you use a photo spread showing graduates at Homecoming or Alumni Day or similar events, try to include some graduates of mature years. Your December Homecoming spread had one guy who was Class of 1940, but the rest of the photos were of kids just old enough to be potty-trained.
Hell, I was at the Yale game with three friends of the 50s. And there were others older than us. Let's get the photographer to look around a bit.
VENLO WOLFSOHN, W'48
Bethesda, Md.

About the first point, we had dropped the sports scores in the belief that the magazine's publication schedule made them too dated to be of much use to sports-minded alumni. I'd be curious to know what other readers think. Regarding alumni photographs, we'll try to give a broader picture next time. -- Ed.

FEWER LETTERS, MORE NEWS
Congratulations on your new format! Thank you also for reducing the number of pages devoted to Letters to the Editor. In the past, long-winded alumni had bogged down your publication with their meandering letters.
One complaint I have is the skimpy quality of your alumni news, arranged by decade. For a university alumni magazine to offer updates on merely a handful of alumni per class is ridiculous. In some issues, your alumni deaths section is as long as the alumni news.
The Gazette needs to do a better job of soliciting alumni news and should consider appointing "class correspondents" to garner news from their classmates. Most alumni magazines of universities the size of Penn contain information about dozens of classmates each issue. I see no reason why the Gazette does not.
MATTHEW J. KELLY, C'93
Brookline, Mass.

The Gazette depends on alumni themselves -- rather than class correspondents -- to send us information. Right now, we have no plans to change that system. However, we do run just about every piece of news we receive from our alumni and are always happy to have more. -- Ed.

NO MORE 'POOR RICHARD'
The Gazette arrived at my home several weeks ago and was promptly dispatched to my "in box" (not even a quick thumb through!) Last evening I picked it up and to my surprise found that it looks better -- feels better -- and, is much better.
As holder of a graduate degree from Dartmouth -- and a class secretary -- I am familiar with that institution's alumni publications. I'm also a longtime subscriber to Harvard Magazine. These publications are living extensions of the respective schools and reflect excellence, as well they should. In all likelihood, the alumni magazine remains the only substantive contact a graduate may have -- over the span of years -- with his or her college following graduation. Its impact, therefore, is darned important!
Congratulations on the new format. The Gazette feels awfully good and no longer resembles "poor Richard."
JOHN T. WISEMAN, C'54
East Greenwich, R.I.

OLDER STUDENTS ARE OLD NEWS
Where has the Gazette staff been? New careers or career changes at up to 50-plus years of age are not news at Penn ["Try It On," November 1996]. The continuing-education programs at Penn's College of General Studies (CGS) have been around since after World War II to accommodate military personnel going to school under the G.I. Bill.
The big back-to-school movement for older students began in the Sixties. In 1968, I entered Penn at age 35, after a marriage, a divorce, and a child, then entered the School of Social Work in 1974 and graduated in 1976 at age 42. I was not the oldest student as an undergraduate or graduate student.
All of us should be proud that the University has the oldest and best program in the Ivies, CGS, for students returning to school.
FLORENCE C. MAGRINI, CGS'73, SW'76
Philadelphia

MISSING ALL-AMERICAN?
In the "Quaker Quiz" [November 1996], "ethnic" All-Americans are listed in the answer to question 26. But what about Bob Evans, who died just recently? Wasn't he All-American around the same time as Reds Bagnell and Ed Bell? As I recall, he appeared on more of the All-American selections than either one of those two contemporaries
JOSEPH V. RESTIFO, C'52
Bryn Mawr, Pa.

A MODEST PROPOSAL
I had to write to comment briefly on the recommendation of Andrew Barniskis that the University might better fight crime if it allows its qualified students to arm themselves with firearms ["Letters," December 1996]. Mr. Barniskis didn't go far enough! I think pre-registration should include the passing out of bulletproof vests and bazookas at the Quad gate. Not only would criminals and citizens alike have reason to fear for their lives, but imagine the improved quality of the lectures.
MARC BOOKMAN, C'78
Wyndmoor, Pa

INVESTMENT IS THE ANSWER
Like all Pennsylvania alumni, I was greatly disturbed to learn of the recent rash of violence in West Philadelphia. I believe we all agree that campus safety is essential, but I am disturbed by the University's one-sided reaction to this crisis.
The only long-term solution to campus security is to invest in the West Philadelphia community. Neighborly investments are already under way at Penn, such as the Penn ASCE Playground Project, the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project, the Penn Center for Community Partnerships and others. Ultimately, programs like these will serve the University better than a brute-force approach to security. We must steer Penn toward a more comprehensive, more effective, security management plan. This will require leadership.
DAVID MAYS, EAS'95
Santa Fe, N.M

WHO DECIDES WHAT'S "REASONABLE"?
Several of the suggestions offered by Blane F. Stoddart, W'87, for making West Philadelphia a safer place to live seem reasonable, but one -- "changing the laws to conduct random searches for guns and drugs, in cases where there is reasonable suspicion" -- I find very troubling ["Letters," November 1996].
Do you really want to empower the police to stop you and search you for whatever they consider to be "reasonable suspicion?" Are you prepared to have your personal affairs bared to the world without due process? Are the poor and those citizens in need of aid any less ardent in their desire for privacy due simply to their condition?
Also, consider the history of police searches in Philadelphia. Is being black reason enough to be searched and detained? Is being Jewish? Is being a lawful owner of a firearm? How about being in a political minority? Hands against the wall, please.
This country's most impoverished citizens are also its most politically disenfranchised. Let's not encourage our government to disenfranchise them further by ignoring their basic civil rights while coming to their aid.
JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN, C'93
Philadelphia

SATISFYING WORK
Since graduating from Penn I have worked with children with disabilities such as those described in Jon Caroulis' article about Dan Bogen and his engineering students [October 1996]. For the last several years I have been privileged to work with a group of retired mechanical and electrical engineers who have used their creativity and talents to solve what have seemed to me to be unsolvable problems. The sense of satisfaction, of solving "the most important problems in the world" has been similar for these engineers, who spent their careers designing defense systems.
Thanks for this article. Let's hear some more about these important solutions with their concrete results!
ELLEN OGMAN, SAMP'72
St. Paul, Minn.


Next month's letters | February Contents | Gazette home

Copyright 1997 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 6/17/97