In the new issue of the magazine, the five pages describing the writing program, with its integration throughout all the majors and during the whole four years, did more to convince me of Union's current excellence and its twenty-first century viability than all the other reports about the library, financial campaigns, or new focus on leadership.
When I was a student, I had just one mind-opening experience with writing in freshman English, which I still treasure
and recall vividly. Union's comprehensive writing requirements, and the ready assistance provided by the Writing Center, should go much further to induce present students to take seriously their own unique ways of thinking, and to value their own individual
voices not just as a means to getting a good grade-point average.
Self-development and the ability to connect effectively and intelligently with
others these – two goals of a Union education seem ideally supported by the writing program. This is the first curriculum reform at Union I've ever bothered to comment on: long may it thrive.
David C. Balderston '55, Ed.D.
New York City
About those Dutch Pipers
In the last issue, we ran a photograph of the Dutch Pipers from 1963 and asked alumni for identification. Thanks to everyone who responded.
The picture was taken at the same time as the slightly more formal shot on the album released that year, “The Sons of Union Sing, Volume 1.”
Seated in front are Kent McArthur '64, Steve Thompson '66, and Neil Jaffee '63; in the middle are Mike Miller '64, Tom Hitchcock '65, and Jon Gourlie '64; and in back are
John Hann '65, John Kemp '66, Tom Palmer '66, and Paul Burns '67.
Knowing what we know now, we should have opted for royalties. But it was for a good
cause the Alumni Scholarship Fund.
Jon Gourlie '64
More on Mr. Bateson
One item in the last issue caught my eye: reference to the keynote speaker of the recent coeducation celebration. Mary Bateson was described as the daughter of Margaret Mead, but her father, Gregory Bateson, was not mentioned.
Ms. Mead is certainly well known throughout the world of social sciences and added greatly to our understanding of key anthropological themes (including the roles of women).
Mr. Bateson's contributions are perhaps less well known, but in the circles of systems thinking, evolutionary processes, learning and education, and even psychiatry, he made major contributions, fundamentally altering the way we think. Stewart Brand listed him as the godfather of the second edition of the Whole Earth Catalog and Bateson was a key advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Also, Mary Bateson's grandfather was one of the great geneticists at the turn of the century. I just thought readers might be interested in the breadth of Ms. Bateson's lineage.
Craig Diamond '76
Several alumni in Israel wrote to us after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Here are excerpts from two of the letters:
Rabin's policy of peace was not overwhelmingly popular here in Israel, although now it seems as though it was. Remember, Oslo Bet passed in the Knesset by only one vote. However, the shock that a Jewish prime minister had been assassinated by a Jew shook this country like nothing I have ever felt….
All day long [on the day of the funeral], the regular activities of the country stopped, and even when the funeral was over, we knew nothing would ever be the same … There is a loss of innocence here, just like my parents said they felt when President Kennedy was assassinated.
Alana Cooper '97
I sit directly across from the square where Yitzhak Rabin's life ended just a few short weeks ago…. All that remains is the makeshift memorial… and the graffiti which adorns every open wall, bench, and statue base. No, not nuisance graffiti … but the farewell notes left by the many thousands of people who came to tarry, mourn, and say goodbye.
Someday my son may remember walking through the silent masses, lighting a memorial candle, or having his father explain to him in simple words that while some live their lives in the service of humanity, many do not. And sometimes the price of discourse can be unbearable.
Jeffrey E. Gerst '80
Wesimann Institute of Science