Letters to the Editor

January/February 2003

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Letters to the Editor


Nothing could have been more disappointing than the November/December Stanford. In this “football issue,” instead of featuring Stanford’s own Frankie Albert, you chose to devote a cover illustration, an article and an editorial to the foulest moment in American football history. It was an affront to Stanford’s athletics program.

To suggest that any Stanford fan should take pleasure in assisting University of California enthusiasts in celebrating this tragic event should be ample reason for President Hennessy to demand Kevin Cool’s resignation. I can only hope that Mr. Cool is not a Stanford alumnus.

Ms. Jackie Krentzman’s extremely biased account of the Play searches for snippets supporting the concept that Stanford fans should forsake any animosity they may have held regarding the incident. I assume she did not attend the 1982 contest and that she is not a Stanford alumna. Women, I would contend, are not well-suited to write about college football.

A major irony in all the media accounts is that the Band played no role in what legions of Stanford adherents will always consider to be a 20-19 Stanford victory.

Richard Rutter, ’54
Emerald Hills, California

And the Band Played On” was wonderful reading and appropriately calm. I think those of us who are passionate about Stanford football have gotten over what we witnessed that day. That is, of course, because we know that Cal ball carrier Dwight Garner was down and that Cal did not, in fact, win the game. That knowledge gives one great peace.

Peter Bhatia, ’75
Portland, Oregon

The Play was a typical rugby maneuver: throwing the ball to a teammate in the rear, who then advances it to the opponent’s goal line. I wonder how many of those Cal players had rugby experience.

Cal has a long record of fielding superior rugby teams, going back to the days when I played rugby at Stanford. This is because, while Cal recognizes rugby as a varsity sport, Stanford calls it a club sport.

If we don’t want another Play, we’d better be able to match Cal’s rugby talent.

George K. Wyman, ’35
Fairfield, California

I was a freshman during the Play. Naturally, I believe we were robbed, but I wonder if anybody else remembers a play earlier in the game that makes it an even bigger travesty.

The Stanford section was in the corner by the end zone where Kevin Moen eventually scored his infamous touchdown. We had a great view of a total miscall by the referee on a Cal touchdown pass. The referee was directly behind the Cal receiver when a pass went over the receiver’s shoulders and between his hands and hit the ground in the end zone before he landed on it without having even touched it in the air. The referee immediately threw his hands up, to our disbelief. We went nuts, but the touchdown stood.

When John Elway made that final drive and the Cardinal scored with seconds left, we felt that justice had prevailed. At that point, it was the greatest game I had ever seen. Needless to say, things got even more interesting.

Like everyone else, I was bitter afterward. But now I love having been in the stands during one of the great college football moments of all time.

Griff Steiner, ’86
Anchorage, Alaska

During the first half of Big Game 1982, a Cal receiver in the end zone dropped the football on what was ruled a touchdown. This moment, subsequently reinforced by the Play, contributed to Stanford memorabilia: all over campus, for months afterward, an absurd suggestion or unreasonable conclusion might be greeted with the exclamation: Touchdown!

Jonathan Dunn, ’86
San Diego, California

Lost in the discussion of the Play and its inevitable reverberations is another event from that same weekend. It was the last year for the true Rally in the City. I feel very fortunate now to have had the inimitable experience of parading through the middle of San Francisco, from Nob Hill to Aquatic Park, with 1,500 or so of my closest friends trailing behind the Band, then screaming my lungs out for two hours while the Band played on.

Subsequent rallies allowed for smaller promenades and bonfires on campus, but these paled in comparison with the riotous good fun of that balmy November evening, when we felt that all the eyes of the City were upon us. Little did any of us know that this experience, too, had reached a turning point of sorts.

Frank Marx, ’86
Louisville, Kentucky

I draw the attention of all still-distraught Cardinal football fans to the fact that, in addition to displaying Gary Tyrrell’s crumpled trombone, the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., has a constantly running videotape of the Play. For a mere $5, you can step inside a simulated broadcast booth and record your own play-by-play of the Play, selecting one of four finishes depending on how you saw it. The “corrected” video, which is yours to keep, makes a wonderful gift.

Marshall Berdan, ’77
Alexandria, Virginia


I agree with many of the recommendations in Joan Hamilton’s “Spoiling Our Kids” (November/December), especially those emphasizing parental responsibility and accountability for children’s media exposure. Hamilton’s thoughtful research aside, however, our problems as a society cut much deeper: many of our children are coming to school unprepared to learn.

In the public schools of New York City, an estimated 87 percent of black eighth-graders are not prepared to matriculate to the ninth grade, according to the National Black Child Development Institute in Washington, D.C. Schools of education at our universities may not bring in the big donor dollars, but with public education suffering woefully across America, we need the Stanfords of the nation to step up and help save our children.

Victor L. Marsh Sr.
Detroit, Michigan


I enjoyed “Bay Watch” (November/ December) but was disappointed that Jack Calvin was not mentioned as having co-authored Between Pacific Tides with Ed Ricketts. I was privileged to spend a few weeks traveling with Jack on his boat in 1969 and 1970, and I treasure my 1968 copy of Between Pacific Tides, which he autographed.

Joanne Davies Barnes, ’60, MA ’61
Palo Alto, California

Joe Hlebica’s article on the Hopkins Marine Station was enjoyable, with one major exception: it did not name the original scientists. Especially missing is the one who got “the nation’s first Presidential Science Award in biology.”

Lynn Miller, PhD ’62
Amherst, Massachusetts

Editor’s note: In 1964, Stanford professor and Hopkins Marine Station researcher Cornelius B. van Niel (1897-1985) became the first biologist to receive the Presidential Science Award, which honored his pioneering work in microbial photosynthesis.


When I was at Stanford in the late ’70s, I spent way too much of my time and emotional energy walking the long way around the old Fire Truck House—home to the LGBT Community Resources Center—lest it somehow besmirch my guarded reputation. At long last, all freshmen and transfers can now enjoy the campus offerings for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals without worrying about intimidation or stigma (“Support for Gay Freshmen,” Farm Report, November/December). Making the LGBT introductory CD-ROM part of the “normal” welcoming information in every registration packet will allow the center to shed the appearance of being some taboo establishment hidden from the eyes of the student body. And reporting on it in Stanford informs all alums that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are here to stay. We are everywhere in society—lawyers, doctors and many students at Leland Stanford Junior University!

Scott Schwimer, ’78
Beverly Hills, California


Several distinguished professors expressed their learned views in “Ethics in the Wake of Enron” (Farm Report, November/ December). However, as a singed Enron investor, I noted the absence of any comment on the role of emeritus Business School dean and accounting professor Robert Jaedicke. After all, Mr. Jaedicke did chair Enron’s audit committee. I admit I did not understand Enron’s accounting but banked, mistakenly, on the assumption that Mr. Jaedicke did.

Neel Hall, ’54, MBA ’59
Tucson, Arizona


Here is a personal reminiscence that links your recent stories about football star Frankie Albert (Remembering, November/December) and the campus student fire department (“When Students Fought Fires,” July/August).

On January 1, 1941, my family arrived on the Stanford campus on the way to our new home at Kingscote Garden apartments. My father, Finland’s former foreign minister, was joining the faculty of the political science department. My brother, Kal, and I knew not a word of English, but we were enchanted by the fire engines, with alarms at full blast, that were racing around the campus that afternoon.

The Finnish word for fire is palo, and “auto” was one of the few English words that had been adopted into the Finnish language. Kal and I soon figured it out: Palo Auto (Alto) must be a wonderful place where fire engines celebrate each day.

Little did we know that the celebration had been set off by Stanford’s 21-13 football victory over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl that afternoon. Only later did we learn, to our great regret, that such noisy celebrations were not a daily occurrence on the Stanford campus.

Ole R. Holsti, ’54, PhD ’62
Durham, North Carolina


Whoops! I don’t think the photo in the November/December Time Capsule quite jibes with the headline, “When the Men Came Back.” We returning GIs would rather have posed in our underwear than in those uniforms, and especially in those helmet liners.

I think what you’ve got is a shot of some soldiers in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), who were on campus from about June 1943 until late spring of 1944, studying engineering, languages and a few other subjects.

I was one of these, a Stanford student who, by luck of the draw, was sent back to Stanford after Army basic training. We had a grand time, playing gin rummy in our rooms in Toyon and other residences, chasing girls (though I didn’t catch mine till I came back after the war) and hiding out from drill (Professor Margery Bailey, whose assistant I had been, let me hide in her basement office).

We arrogantly assumed that we were being saved out from the war as “the best and brightest” to avoid the problem the British had after World War I. Our insignia was the lamp of knowledge, though our unofficial one was a gold brick on a green background.

After the war ended, it came out that we were being stockpiled as potential second lieutenants, a plan that put us at great risk of being killed leading platoons into battle. Our actual fate was even worse, however: in the spring of 1944, we were dumped into the infantry as privates and sent into combat with very little training. Many of the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhine crossing were from the Army Specialized Training Program.

So much for “goldbricks.” But please don’t misuse a photo of us in our happier times!

Bill Dillinger, ’47
Sacramento, California


I enjoyed your article on the premature infants (“Holding On,” September/ October). The sidebar “Getting in Touch” was good, too, but I wish you had included Dr. Marshall Klaus, who led the bonding work. My wife spent two years with Dr. Klaus and his team in the Research Center for Prematurity. Recently retired, she still says that the high mark of her career was working with the premature infants at Stanford.

John Slimick, MS ’69
Bradford, Pennsylvania


I am disappointed in how Stanford constantly portrays Stanford as a place where there are few, if any, contentious issues on campus. Since the Alumni Association lost its independence several years ago, the number of articles examining campus life in a balanced way has dropped to nearly zero. Everything is “hooray for Stanford.”

I want to know what’s happening on campus that is getting people worked up. I am confident that there are protests against the war going on, tension between the Muslim and Jewish communities on campus, perhaps even rising anti-Semitism (which UCLA, Berkeley and others have been dealing with through special programs). Perhaps there are sit-ins to protest that a professor was not given tenure. I would love to see at least a few stories on student-raised issues that question the administration.

Student life at Stanford is full of surprise, contention, love, argument, friendship and struggle. The intense debates we had in our dorms and classes, the speakers in White Plaza, the visiting politicians and the various protest rallies on campus all helped make my Stanford experience memorable.

Adding more stories on this part of Stanford life would be like adding spice to what could be a delicious dish. So go ahead, add some pepper to these pages. I am tired of the plain fare that Stanford has been serving up.

Steve Glikbarg, ’87, MA ’90, MBA ’94
Santa Barbara, California

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