Amherst Magazine

Letters

1490268

The 100th anniversary issue

I read the Fall 2011 issue of Amherst with interest and delight—a broad sweep and many good nuggets, including the compilation, by Katherine Duke [’05], of quotes about women’s history at the college (“Do I need a tie?” College Row). Thanks for including my two latest books in Short Takes. Perhaps in another 100 years I’ll rival Robert Frost for appearances in the magazine (“Frost, Frost and More Frost”). For now I’m honored to be between the covers with him, Richard Wilbur [’42], David Foster Wallace [’85] and other Amherst literary luminaries. And my, how young Queen Elizabeth looked at the Folger with Werner Gundersheimer [’59] just 20 years ago (“In These Times”)! A lot of history, Nelson Mandela joy and John Kennedy joy and sadness in those pages.

Seth E. Frank ’55
New York City



The “skeptical Markgraf” responds

In reading accounts of great moments in Amherst history in the Fall 2011 issue—alumni in space, discoverers of antioxidants and Professor Loomis’ expedition to Patagonia—I was struck with horror to find my ill-conceived review of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest among them. After its initial publication 16 years ago, I secretly hoped it could be expunged from the public record!

When the review first appeared, it was pointed out to me (in support!) that this was a review Wallace himself was likely to read. I think it was at this point that the words on the page—my words—seemed a grotesque self-portrait of someone in over her head, while close by, Professor Pritchard was crafting radiant stained-glass windows for the cathedral of American Arts and Letters.

Sarah T. Markgraf ’84
Hackensack, N.J.



The McNamara protest

To add to the note on the Vietnam War protest and walkout at the 1966 commencement (“In These Times,” Fall 2011): It was featured on the front page of the next day’s New York Times, because it was the first of its kind. It inspired similar actions at campuses nationwide.

I didn’t take part myself. The action raised vexing questions I couldn‘t answer: Was the protest against the college, the honorary degree awarded to Robert McNamara, the entire war? Was any of it mitigated by McNamara’s Q and A with graduates that morning in Johnson Chapel? Was a commencement a suitable occasion? In retrospect, of course, the answers are clear, but at the time the language of protest was only being established; a vocabulary was being created. The incident could have formed the basis for a fascinating English 1-2 assignment (“What, in this context, is the meaning of ‘white armband’?”) if the course hadn’t, by then, been discontinued.

John Kroll ’66
San Diego



Re. “The best toga party on campus,” about tech stories through the decades

I recall the math department proposing that they teach a programming course. One faculty member argued against it by saying that it was a useful skill but no more worthy of credit than glass-blowing (useful for a chem major but also not an academic subject for which credit should be granted). Yes, times change...

Dan Freidus ’82
in a Facebook post



Tweets about the 100th anniversary issue

gloryfromdust [Gregory Campeau ’11]: The 100th-anniv edition of the alumni magazine is brilliantly executed and very well conceived. Bravo to our editor!

bargue [Graydon Parrish ’99, one of the “Where Are They Now” profile subjects]: Thanks Amherst for 100 years

adambonin [’94]: Very cool to see @ronlieber [’93] and @PaulRieckhoff [’98] mentioned in the Amherst Magazine 100th Anniversary issue.

AmherstWAGS [women’s and gender studies department]: We loved seeing this picture of WAGS professor Rick Griffiths circa 1983. Toga! Toga!



Popularity contest

At www.amherst.edu/magazine, these were the five most-viewed stories from the 100th anniversary issue:

1. “Reigning proud,” the sports feature about eight seniors poised to defend their NCAA titles

2. “The best toga party on campus,” about how Amherst magazine has covered technology over the years

3. “Reviving classicism,” the profile of painter Graydon Parrish ’99

4. “In These Times,” which rounded up 10 decades of news, photos and commentary from our pages

5. “A Miracle Worker,” about 101-year-old Dr. Howard W. Jones ’31, who helped to create the first IVF baby born in the United States


Correction

As two alumni pointed out, the photo of pajama-clad students in Milliken Infirmary (College Row, Fall 2011) is not from 1938 but rather from the 1950s. We apologize for the error.


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Amherst Magazine
Office of Public Affairs
P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002

Or e-mail them to eboutilier@amherst.edu.