The HP Brand

Your “ride ’em cowboy” cover ( "Founding Fathers" July/August) reminded me that once both Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett had a highly esteemed reputation in animal husbandry -- thanks to their development of range grasses for marginal lands and their landmark work with polled Hereford cattle.

Bill Bigler
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

No Urge to Merge

The arguments advanced in favor of “merging” the Alumni Association and the University are unconvincing ( “End Notes,” July/August). Four years ago, when Stanford alums were summarily stripped of their vote for representatives to the Board of Trustees, we were told that this would save $75,000 in biannual election costs.

This time, there seems to be no hesitation about spending money on a new mass election designed to eliminate the last vestiges of the Alumni Association’s independence. Maybe I’m a confused loner, but I look forward to voting “no.” I recognize nothing in the “initiatives” announced by Bill Stone that isn’t already being done or couldn’t be done under the present arrangements.

I am proud of my affiliation with Stanford. I believe that the University and Alumni Association are both effectively performing their separate functions, and smoothly coordinating their efforts when needed.

Drew Keeling, ’77
Berkeley, California

It seems that a very small number of alumni have had a chance to consider the possible merger, even though the SAA directors and the University trustees have studied it in some detail.

I think the SAA has done a rather good job over more than 100 years of its life and hope that there is not now an unseemly haste to remove it as an independent voice for the alumni. As we all know, there have been issues in the past where alumni have not agreed with positions taken by the University and alumni voices have been heard through their separate organization.

Until more of the alumni are advised of these questions and their opinions heard, I would have to vote against the merger.

Gene LaHusen, ’50
San Clemente, California

I object to the merger between the SAA and Stanford University.

  • There has been no discussion of the merits of this proposed merger in Stanford magazine or anywhere else.
  • SAA and the University have sent a slick color brochure strongly urging a favorable merger vote. Not one negative reason was cited to oppose the merger.
  • The timing of the ballot is suspicious -- many alumni are on vacation and will miss the ballot; the campus is dead; the Stanford Daily and the Stanford Review are in hiatus.

Why is this merger being pressured without a democratic discussion involving all the views of SAA members? And why is the Stanford administration so intent on enlarging its governance when its academic and other responsibilities desperately need its full attention?

This merger should be placed on hold immediately! Let’s let the winds of freedom blow on the proposal and elicit all the pros and cons.

Eugene Danaher, MBA ’45, PhD ’46
Tallahassee, Florida Editor’s note: For news of the merger, click here.

Laws of the Jungle

I am stunned by the lack of a sense of magnitude and context displayed by the actions and words of the three Stanford alums -- Carrie Hunter, ’75, Steve Smith, ’75, and Barbara Smuts, PhD ’82 ( “Out of Africa”; July/August). They claim, in the words of writer Brian Aronstam, to be “especially concerned about Congolese citizens” in the aftermath of Laurent Kabila’s sweeping military victory in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Why, then, did they remain “silent for 22 years” while the bloody, iron-fisted dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, kept millions of Congolese citizens under his repressive rule and subjected thousands to horrible human rights abuses, including holding political prisoners 100 times longer than these former Stanford students?

It just astonishes me that these alums are so exclusively focused on Laurent Kabila. How can they claim that they are not acting on a personal vendetta? And how is it that your magazine gets away with relegating atrocities to a “sidebar, next page”? Heaven forbid that a Stanford student should have been kidnapped in Rwanda in the mid-1990s, although then at least we could have read a full Stanford article about the genocide of half-a-million Tutsis!

Jonathon Marley, ’84
Oakland, California

I found myself sympathizing with the indignation of the former hostages of Laurent Kabila. But the most intriguing part of Brian Aronstam’s article was the reference to Jane Goodall, whose chimpanzee research program at Gombe Stream Park sponsored the work of the students who were kidnapped. Aronstam indicates that Goodall was tipped off about the impending raid by Kabila’s men and “slipped into the jungle. . . . ” She was not mentioned again in the article. Was it every chimp researcher for herself at Gombe Stream in those days?

Roland Atkinson, ’57, MD ’61
Milwaukie, Oregon Brian Aronstam replies: Jane Goodall was given a harrowing late-night warning that a band of heavily armed guerillas was approaching and she should immediately flee her camp. Never in my conversations with the four former students did they suggest that she reacted in an inappropriate fashion.

Happy Trails

I read with interest and concern the article by Jesse Roach and Jim Schoettler on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail ( “Into the Wilderness,”; July/August). Interest because I had hiked sections of the trail each summer, over a period of 13 years, and concern because they took unnecessary risks. Roach and Schoettler chose the wrong time of the year (too late), the wrong year (too much snow) and the wrong direction (North to South). As for food and equipment, they were rank amateurs.

Almost two decades ago, I decided I wanted to hike the John Muir Trail in one fell swoop before I was 60. I had hiked most of it before in segments and knew what to expect. On my first try (age 58), I was turned back by heavy mid-summer rain and snow, but succeeded the following year. Over the next 13 years, I did random segments in California, Oregon and Washington. I’d hoped to finish it before I was 70, but had to settle for 73. I miss it now but sometimes wake up at night with scenes implanted in my memory.

Sullivan Marsden Jr., ’44, PhD ’48,
Professor emeritus of petroleum engineering
Stanford, California

Terman the Teacher

In “The Cold War University” (Stanford Today, July/August) I was particularly struck by the comment that Fred Terman “had very little interest in teaching.”

My impression was just the opposite. As dean of engineering he could have either avoided teaching or limited it to a narrow specialty -- but he assigned himself the beginning courses in electrical engineering.

I was also surprised by the comment that Terman “never personally, intellectually or emotionally had a feel for the humanities or the social sciences.” When I was gathering letters of recommendation needed for transfer to the school of education, Terman was the only professor in the department who didn’t think I’d lost my mind. He was interested in discussing my plans and goals and, in marked contrast with his colleagues, clearly seemed to feel that important things could be done in applied social sciences.

There’s no doubt about Fred Terman’s impact on Stanford’s postwar development, but the book under discussion may widely miss portraying his beliefs, motives and behavior.

Harold A. Cloer, MS ’47, EdD ’59
Ashland, Oregon

Free Trade Fallacy

I gathered from the profile of John Taylor (Stanford Today, July/August) that he, like virtually all his colleagues in economics, subscribes to the dogma of free trade. Yet comparative advantage -- free trade’s theoretical cornerstone -- crumbles in the real world of mobile capital and absolute advantage.

Balanced trade, not free trade, should be the goal -- if the U.S. government gives a damn about our working class.

Clarence Stay, ’55, MA ’61
Berea, Ohio

Selfway or Selfless?

I found Kathleen O’Toole’s “The American Selfway” article (Stanford Today, July/August) really distressing. I hope the real “primary American selfway” idea is not based on the ideas presented here. First, the middle-class, university-educated sample represents a small portion of the many cultural alternatives in the United States with its race, regional and gender-based variations.

Second, an anthropologist, Signithia Fordham, recently pointed out that black teenagers in a Washington, D.C., inner-city school feel U.S. courts do not protect “individual natural rights,” but put most black males into institutional care and deprive black families of social supports available to whites. These youngsters are “Americans” too.

In Canada, where I teach anthropology and study “first nations” peoples, I find that these groups have a much greater respect for the individual than do most “schooled” Americans. Native students often refrain from giving the “right” answer to a teacher’s question out of respect for the child who has just given the “wrong” answer. Native politicians avoid public political arguments out of respect for the other chiefs and politicos. Yet, to them, everything in the world is connected.

This idea of “connectivity” is as essential to first nations thought as the creator. Connected to the other individuals in his/her nation, connected to the material and living world around them, each Indian is recognized and respected as an individual intimately attached to his/her family, clan and nation.

Psychologists might look at this, too, if they could get away from looking at individual differences in a clinical way.

A. D. Fisher, ’58, MA ’59, PhD ’66
Cobble Hill, B.C., Canada

Potent Omission

It pleases me to split an infinitive by reporting that I was happy not to find an eight-page discussion of Viagra in the July/August issue.

Arthur Abrahamson, ’52
Bellingham, Washington

Class Connections

It was a pleasure to read your First Impressions column of May/June 1998 and to find that other alumni feel the same as I do about Class Notes.

As a single mother of two wonderful daughters, I feel that my accomplishments lie in their lives. Raising them alone for the past seven years (one is 13 and the other 7 years old) has been one of my greatest pleasures and rewarding challenges. They are both happy, well-adjusted, honor-roll children who love their family, their home and their lives. I am also an ABD (all but dissertation) student at the University of Miami, but have managed to keep my children’s well-being as my No. 1 priority.

I wish that our Class Notes would help alumni connect on this more human level, especially because that is one of the benefits of Stanford: the exceptional human quality of students, faculty and staff.

Lorna Escoffery, MA ’85
Coconut Grove, Florida

Other Basketball Heroes

Don’t you Stanford journalists know that the story of Stanford basketball really began in 1937, five years before Bill Cowden and company won Stanford’s first official NCAA title (“The Spring of ’42,” May/June). In December of that year, with NCAA titles not yet thought of, a man named Angelo “Hank” Luisetti led Stanford teammates Howie Turner, Art Stoefen, Jack Calderwood and “Beebs” Lee to New York. There, in Madison Square Garden, they humiliated the “national champion,” Long Island U. And they repeated this drubbing in 1938, leaving no doubt that the “cow college” Stanford was The Champion.

But that isn’t even half the story. Luisetti changed the game by replacing the universal two-handed set shot with the one-handed “jump-push” shot. As a backup warming the bench most of those three years, I considered it a privilege just to be a part of what this remarkable man accomplished.

Dick Lyon, ’38, MD ’44
Napa, California

Courtesy at the Library

I read with interest Anne-Marie Tarter’s letter ( “In Defense of the British Library,” May/June) regarding Nicole Krauss’s E-mail from London (“In the Bowels of the Bodleian,” January/February).

As I have pointed out in a personal letter to Ms. Tarter, since she left Stanford its libraries’ access policies have indeed changed. We welcome visitors from all over the world to all our libraries for at least seven days of courtesy use each year.

Anyone of any citizenship may browse our collections. Indeed, faculty and graduate students having a current affiliation with U.K. member institutions of the U.S.-based Research Libraries Group may use our collections and services on-site for as long as they wish. And even Bay Area high school students may use our collections when they visit the libraries.

Michael A. Keller
Ida M. Green Director for the University Libraries
Stanford, California

Assaying Essays

The “Not Your Typical Essay Question” box (Leland’s Journal, March/April) brought back memories. In 1971, as a student member of Occidental College’s admissions committee, I became bored after reading 400 “What is your favorite book not assigned reading in high school and why?” essays. I suggested we expand the essay submissions if applicants felt constricted. The idea was not to try to get everyone to do something else but to bring out the few creative applicants or even oddballs.

Oxy admissions officials enthusiastically adopted the idea and received a screenplay, a mathematical proof, a needlepoint pillow of a lion and several other inventive items. I urged the school to admit anyone who submitted something other than the approved and normal essay. I even wanted that needlepointer to be accepted, despite Oxy’s mascot: a tiger.

Andrew Rubin, JD ’74
Washington, D.C.

Potomac Pioneers

You incorrectly reported that the Stanford-in-Washington program “opened its doors in the spring of 1988” and that Donald Kennedy conceived of it “when he was University president in the mid-1980s” ( “Interns on the Potomac,”; March/April). In fact, the program was begun 25 years earlier, in the summer of 1963, by Jamie Hunter, then a Stanford law student. More than a dozen Stanford students spent that summer in Washington on Capitol Hill and in executive branch agencies.

Your article probably meant to refer to the first residential program with faculty-led seminars. But by then, the program already had a significant history.

Bob Murphy, LLB ’66
Portola Valley, California

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