Amherst Magazine

Letters to Class of 1963 Reunion Books

Flip Kissam


Amherst Class of 1963 Twenty-fifth Reunion

1510 Crescent Rd.
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
January 8, 1988

Frank Bragg
267 Forest Ave
Bangor, ME 04401

Dear Frank:

Ted Truman has cajoled or shamed me into contributing news to our reunion booklet. I enjoyed and appreciated the letters from our classmates five years ago though I did not participate.

As I recall many reporting five years ago, my life is centered around family. Brenda and I have been married almost 20 years. She currently is seeking certification as a middle school teacher. Jonathan, our 14 year old, concentrates on rock music of many kinds, and this includes his playing piano and guitar. Ariane, our 11 year old, is pursing more diverse interests that range from softball to flute to bell choir. Our kids’ developing independence is reducing the time we spend together collectively, but at the right times (and often in smaller groups) we still enjoy the companionship of each other a great deal. I hope that this will continue.

Since 1973, I have been teaching law at the University of Kansas. My teaching and scholarship interests have turned out to be eclectic, theoretical and perhaps marginal to the professional concerns of most lawyers and law students. Traces of Amherst can probably be detected in these patterns, for I followed eclectic and theoretical if not marginal paths during my Amherst years. In any event, I enjoy academic life very much although this is tempered at times by the realization that I have never developed sustained commitments to the political causes and projects in which I believe.

I can also report having become quite fond in recent years of my remembered Amherst experiences. For example, although I was never very proficient at English 1-2, I have come to realize that many of my intense concerns about the words and ideas that one uses must certainly stem from there. More specifically, this background helps explain my recent conversion to the “writing-across-the-curriculum” movement in American universities and colleges. This movement, which I frequently recommend to others (especially those with school age children), might be described succinctly as an attempt to extend English 1-2 ideas to all university teaching. Good idea or not, my conversion to the movement has surely helped to reinvigorate me in mid-career.

Sincerely,
/s/ Philip (Flip) Kissam