Why museums matter

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed by the Smithsonian’s Kirk Johnson ’82 (“Out of the Shadows,” Summer 2014)! All of the photographic and electronic information available today cannot substitute for real-life experiences. When I was teaching a course in ornithology and explaining how light bird bones were, I passed around in class a pelican humerus and a human humerus. Getting to actually feel the difference in weight (29 grams vs. 120 grams) of these two nearly equal-sized bones made the point for the students far more forcefully than anything I was saying. Museums that provide visual, and sometimes tactile, experiences will always be an important adjunct to the educational process, reinforcing information from other sources. The Beneski Museum certainly fills that role for Amherst students and other visitors. I look forward to seeing it myself on my next visit to campus.

Charles T. Collins ’60
Long Beach, Calif.
The writer is a professor emeritus at California State University, Long Beach.

Just say hello

The Summer issue contains a sad dichotomy: the current “Amherst Awkward” (p. 7) contrasted with Professor Pritchard’s memory of “dutifully” saying hello to upperclassmen (p. 19). Perhaps there is a place for some dutiful traditions, those which engender a sense of community and foster lifelong habits that serve one well. Just say, “Hi.”

Mac Langford ’60
Lopez Island, Wash.

The painter, then and now

Bob Forrester’67 holding photo of of himself as art student. We were delighted to see one of our favorite pictures on the back cover of Amherst (Spring 2014). For years we’ve treasured a framed copy we have of this portrait of Bob Forrester ’67, the young philosopher painter, looking only slightly different than he does now. We were a bit surprised that the magazine called him an unknown student, since he was on the front cover in the same photo back when he was a student, and we knew who he was right away: our kids’ Grandpa Bob.

 Darcy Forrester Carr ’97
Jonathan Carr ’96
Arlington, Mass.

Memories of dusty courts

I read with interest the article by Ed Wesely ’52 (“Phew!,” Remember When, Summer 2014).  Ed was my fraternity brother whose tennis exploits were regularly demonstrated. But beyond this, his reference to “venerable (if dusty) courts” brought back memories of being forced to play tennis on those hellish courts in the spring of my senior year in order to meet the (then) requirement of an individual sport in order to graduate from Amherst.

Dave Winslow ’53
Brookhaven, N.Y.

 The stories behind the photos

Students in Valentine in the early 1960s Many ’60s alumni wrote to identify the students on p. 69 of the Summer 2014 issue. At left is Jerry Mintz ’64. At right is Dave Pellegrin ’64. “Mintz was on my floor of Stearns freshman year” and was a bright, likeable classmate who loved German opera, wrote Alan Fraser Houston ’64. “Pellegrin was on the same Stearns floor, a musician (drummer), also very bright and well-liked. He transferred to Harvard [but] appeared at the [Amherst] class of ’64 reunion this year, after 50-plus years, to the absolute delight of a number of us. A great reunion!”

Crowd at launch of S.S. Amherst Victory Several alumni picked out the face of Art Henshaw ’64 behind Pellegrin, as well as the back of Barry Palmer ’64’s head (at the chair with the Amherst jacket). Tom Hanford ’62 even tried to ID a third, mostly obscured, student at the Henshaw-Palmer table: “I would guess Ron Ziemba ’64, based on the hair part and cigarette,” he wrote. “All were close friends and fraternity brothers in Psi U.”

On p. 55 of that same issue, George Bria ’38 spotted longtime leading lady Claudette Colbert in the photo of the 1945 launch of the S.S. Amherst Victory. Colbert is in the front row, at right. She won an Academy Award in 1935 for her role in It Happened One Night.


Because of an editing error, the Summer 2014 notes for the class of ’79 incorrectly referred to Ashley Pozefsky Adams ’79, a man, as “she.” We apologize for the mistake. Also, the photo caption on p. 59 of that issue is incorrect: Milliken was torn down to make way for King and Wieland dorms.