In your Spring 2007 issue, I was struck by the diversity of articles demonstrating
the wonderful range of Jumbo action. The student volunteer group making
a difference in Tibet. Alumna leadership in Pride on the Hill. Etiquette
at the business lunch. I found the article “The Opposite of Fear,” on Lieutenant Elliot Ackerman’s successes, especially relevant, having attended the 2006 MIT “pass in review” ceremony for ROTC seniors at which Army General David Petraeus [now commander of the multinational force in Iraq] spoke on leadership—where
to find it and how to develop it. The lieutenant was ahead of the curve
and a credit to Tufts. Contrast this with the sixties, when activists coerced
a liberal faculty into canceling the ROTC program at Tufts.
I also cite the two Spring issue letters on one of my classmates, Dick Alpert, aka Ram Dass. One extols Dick’s leadership in the spiritual dimension; the other criticizes the magazine for featuring the life of this most interesting Tufts grad.
I conclude that diversity, and bias, are still alive and well among Tufts alumni, and that alumni interest, shown by the fact that they’re reading the magazine and writing letters, indicates solid and continuing alumni support. Tufts Magazine continues to be part of an effective alumni allegiance.
DAVID LINCOLN, A52, NROTC
NOT WEST POINT
I was dismayed to read “The Opposite of Fear” (Spring 2007), and disappointed to see that you continue to treat Iraq as a just and righteous cause. I don’t believe this type of article belongs in our alumni magazine. After all, Tufts is not West Point or Parris Island.
I suggest your editorial efforts would be better spent on recommending political solutions to the conflict.
DOUGLAS ALAN CLARK, A72
REMEMBERING NILS WESSELL
Tufts President Nils Y. Wessell, who passed away in March, came to the Boston
campus to greet the new members of the medical school’s Class of 1963 in September 1959. After telling us we wouldn’t likely see him again for four years, when he would hand us our diplomas, he went on to define the three duties of a college president: “provide parking for the faculty, football for the alumni, and sex for the undergraduates.” And we had always thought he was there to raise capital for campus construction and scholarships!
ROGER G. SMITH, M64
… AND FRED
Those of us who have served in the leadership of the Tufts University Alumni Association for the past five decades will miss Fred Nickless and his enormous contribution to the university. That contribution continues. I met Fred in my freshman year and often said to him, and about him, that he was the person who taught me to be an alumnus. That thought formed the basis for the observation that I made in a speech on the Hill on President Lawrence S. Bacow’s first day on the job. I said that Tufts students were “alumni in training.” Larry borrowed the expression in a speech he made later that day, and has since made it his own, much to my delight. When I hear our president or student and alumni leaders speak of “alumni in training,” I recognize it as Fred Nickless’s bequest to all Jumbos.
ALAN M. MACDOUGALL, A65
TUFTS UNIVERSITY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
… AND WILLIAM JONES
I arrived at Tufts in September 1937. I met Alexander MacLennan [E41], my new roommate, in Fletcher Hall. We were starting to unpack when Art Cochran, basketball coach, National Youth Organization director, and assistant to the vice president, arrived to ask if we would mind moving across the hall to a triple suite so that twin brothers could live together. They were Bill and Cyril Jones, whom I knew throughout my stay there. I cannot imagine gentle Engineering Dean Harry Burden telling Bill that he would get no help from the placement service, though he could certainly have told him he would have great difficulty getting a job in industry.
Today’s students cannot imagine the prejudice that existed for blacks and Jews back then. Ed Dugger [E41] was a class officer, honor society member, and an outstanding track athlete who likely would have represented the United States in the 1940 Olympics if they had been held. Because he was black, he could only get a job with the government. My Jewish classmates in the engineering school could only get jobs at government agencies. Times have certainly changed.
DAVID W. CARNELL, E41
WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
BARRIERS TO PEACE
As a Jew, I am compelled to respond to Michael Maria’s article “A Day at the Beach” (Spring 2007) to clear the air, invite dialogue, and, in the words of our sages, “pursue peace.” While it is unfortunate when anyone cannot make a truly religious pilgrimage and is denied his religious heritage, Maria’s description of his lengthy process to cross Israeli checkpoints to see the “sights” on a Tel Aviv beach falls short of a spiritual journey.
The article ignores the Jews’ inability to enter the holiest site of all, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, called by Isaiah “a house of prayer for all people.” This universal sanctuary was destroyed by the Romans and replaced with an actual dung heap. This act deprived an entire nation of her central holy site and national center, and a place that busied itself annually with an ancient rite for the welfare of all nations.
Later, this same site was supplanted by a mosque. There, the Jew patiently stands behind a much larger wall, the Western Wall, which has become holy by default, and is the closest he can get. The waiting line at the Western Wall goes nowhere daily.
Maria mocks the idea that a checkpoint serves as a proven deterrent to terrorist activity against innocent civilians. And while any wall implies confinement, which no human being is comfortable with, there are not many better solutions to terror.
It is simplistic to see the snipers at their posts as overpowering occupiers. The Jew, as any student of history knows, has not had an organized physical security force for almost 2,000 years. Israel was the last nation to pick up the gun, and she hopes to be the first to put it down. Maria’s portrayal of whimsical, armed Israelis implies that perhaps they shouldn’t be armed. It has been clear what has happened to Jews when they haven’t been armed to defend themselves in the past.
On Rosh Hashanah, the Jew celebrates the birth of all humanity, acknowledging the common root of all earth’s peoples, regardless of religion. While true that, as Maria puts it, Eastern Jews and Arabs look alike, their commonality should be deeper than race alone. Jews are not a race. Jews are a nation with a specific belief system and spiritual heritage. In Israel and in the world, Chinese, African, Caucasian, and Indian Jews are united simply by the belief in the unity of the Creator and of the Creation. Many other nations have recently joined our chorus, as true ammunition for all walls to come down.
YOSEF PESACH GLASSMAN, M97
Kudos to Michael Maria, E05, and Tufts Magazine for “A Day at the Beach.” It was so refreshing and enlightening to hear another side of the sad situation in the Middle East. We sometimes too easily forget the human side of this tragedy and focus quickly on the words of various Political Action Committees. Thanks, Michael, for opening our eyes.
AL MAMARY, E56
“A Day at the Beach” was not enlightening or educational, and I am very disappointed in the magazine for printing such a slanted essay cloaked in the form of a travel diary. The author complained about checkpoints and criticized the so-called biased treatment of Palestinians versus Americans without ever mentioning the reason for those necessary safety measures. The checkpoints are set up in Israel for a very simple reason: because terrorists from the West Bank strap explosives and pounds of nails to their chests to be exploded in cafes, buses, train stops, and yes, even at the beach. An article that criticizes Israel’s right to defend its people plays into terrorist propaganda to pressure Israel to compromise its safety.
RACHEL SCHIFF, A04
OAK PARK, ILLINOIS
Considering a parrot (“Ahoy Thar, Matey,” Spring 2007)? When choosing a bird, let the bird choose you. If he or she likes you, you’ll know. Having been companions for 24 years, Bomber, a conure, and I know what we’re talking about. Dogs have masters; cats have servants; birds have slaves, and cage is a four-letter word. Parrots need lots of liberty, as much attention as a two-year-old, and a part-time housekeeper (that’s you). And sometimes they screech and bite. How many people, though, can enjoy a feathered flower flying around the house, lovingly greeting you wherever you meet. And yes, they have their favorite “spots.” That is what newspapers are for.
CAROLE COTTER MASCARENAS, J58
I am a designer and an alumna of the Museum School/Tufts bachelor of fine arts program. I have to say I am so impressed with the redesign and the new direction that you’ve taken with the magazine. It is really stunning. I especially enjoyed the music issue (Winter 2007), but they’ve all been informative, easy to read, and a joy to look at.
DIANE SAWYER, J79
I wanted to tell you how much I have been enjoying the new magazine. It is interesting, informative, well written, pertinent. Thank you.
ANN DAVIS, G71
SUMMERVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
In our enthusiasm over the Muriel Simonson exhibit at Tisch Library (“Jackson in the Jazz Age,” Spring 2007), we forgot to mention that the exhibit was put on by Tufts’ Digital Collections and Archives and curated by Susanne Belovari. We also meant to credit John Soares for his nifty cover photo.