The Colgate Scene
January 2001
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Letters
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A loss
. . . On June 1, 2000, I lost a dear friend.

     I met Lynn Tybursey '87 our first day of freshman year at Colgate. If you knew her, you know what a special person she was. If you didn't know her, I'm not all that surprised. Lynn was quiet at first, and not one to seek the limelight. Those of us who did know Lynn were rewarded with a loyal friend, a good listener, a kind soul.

     After graduating, Lynn moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for a nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving peace in the Middle East. As Colgate friends will do, we kept in touch sporadically after graduation, occasionally having those hour-long phone calls where we could catch up on each other's lives. My wife (Mary Ellen Natale '87) and I visited Lynn in Washington in 1996. At that time, Lynn had begun to have some as-yet undiagnosed health problems. Soon thereafter, she learned that she had a rare form of cancer.

     We kept in touch with Lynn after her diagnosis, visited a few times and corresponded through e-mail. During her illness, Lynn had a more positive outlook on life than most healthy people I know. She never stopped being interested in other people's lives and always looked toward the future, which she always believed she would have. I hope that the following excerpts from her e-mails will help to show the courage and spirit with which she faced her illness.

November 5, 1997: "As you can imagine, I don't like unexplainable aches and pains these days. Frankly, they scare the bejeezus out of me. But on a positive note, I'm becoming more and more comfortable facing the realities of mortality. I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon, but I'm becoming more at peace with the idea of death, whether premature or at 95 years old -- the latter of which is my plan!"

February 10, 1998: "I am doing relatively well, having gotten used to the aches, pains and discomforts -- and knowing what to expect. That alleviates a lot of fear -- what you don't know can indeed hurt you, and it can make you very apprehensive. Fortunately, this is becoming old hat." Regarding her dog, Toby: "He's good company, and I like my short walks with him. I can't imagine not having him -- I'd never leave the house. I hope to eventually be well enough to go on really long walks with him, perhaps even short jogs . . . I look forward to being back to normal health."

May 10, 1998: "Even though I'm currently on a `low' physically, I don't think I've ever been so strong mentally and emotionally."

May 28, 1998: "Really, I've just become a wonderful combination of bored, contemplative, long-winded and thrilled to communicate with friends in the `outside world.' I'm happy to share what little is going on, and equally happy to hear about what's going on with you guys . . . New and wonderful things are always on the horizon. I know I am looking forward to getting there and enjoying life like I never enjoyed it before!"

July 13, 1998: "OK, I'm scared. But that's OK."

July 17, 1998: "Speaking from my own experience, being on the nasty drugs and getting sick during chemo is a lousy quality of life, and I realized one day that some folks just don't `give up,' but rather, they make a conscious decision to live life to its fullest with their disease, rather than to take the mindset that they're dying of it (even if the latter is the harsh reality). Quality of life. That's key, and that's what I am striving for from now on."

October 27, 1998: "Don't be nervous! I'm OK. I'm much better than before -- much more comfortable and able to take longer walks with Toby, for example. And I've got hair, though goofy hair."

January 1, 1999: "The oncologist says that the surgeon is `an aggressive surgeon' who will most likely agree to do the surgery, though they expect it to be difficult . . . That's it in a nutshell. Scares the Hell out of me, but I'm relatively calm about it. I keep hoping that all the trouble will end, and that I'll be able to get on with a normal life at some point. I'd like to keep this hope, though it may not ever be the case, it seems. So I must remain positive."

May 16, 2000: "Since last fall everything has been a gigantic whirlwind of appointments, diagnostics, therapies . . . I guess that I'm still in fairly good spirits is a positive thing, as is the fact that I've never been closer to my parents . . . I'm looking forward to selling the condo and being back with family. And it's not just the matter of necessity, either. I've done some long, hard thinking about that. I know that I have no other option for care, or at least none that I would ever consider. But I must say that I'm enjoying the comforts of home. Sure, I still wish things were different . . . that I were healthy and married with kids, etc., but that's not the case. Here I'm with the people who love me the most in the world . . . It's what I need right now."

Lynn died two weeks later while I was out of the country, but her family told me that many friends from Colgate were at the funeral. That would mean a lot to her. To all of you who knew Lynn: I miss her, too.

GLENN EGELMAN MD '87
Stony Brook, NY


A family's attention
. . . I have read many articles in the Scene, but never has one captured the attention of my family as did Bill Plummer's "A Son's Tale" (September 2000). Apparently no statutes of limitations exist! As a small child I lived in Cranford. I remember Bill Plummer, and eventually other Colgate students, as lifeguards at the local swim club. Many years later I am now serving on the Board of Governors of that same wonderful swim club. My older brother was employed as a desk attendant at the club during the summer of 1963. I read the article out loud, and my two sons, ages nine and 14, were quite amazed to learn of this interesting evening in the life of their beloved (can do no wrong) Uncle Dougie. I was a six-year-old little sister at the time, so this wasn't a story I'd heard before. Our boys do know of the story of Doug and Henry canoeing from Staten Island to Coney Island! As a parent of a teenager, I am all but tempted to grip the reins tighter.

     I am proud to have gone to Colgate after Bill and Doug both did. We have enjoyed coming across many of Bill's articles over the years, but this has been the most satisfying. Most of all, I remember Bill's father and mother as wonderful leading citizens of our area.

VICKIE STEPHENS WILLIAMS '79
Westfield, NJ


A better understanding
. . . On Saturday 1 October 1949 I entered Colgate, having received an early discharge from the Navy the day before in Washington, D.C. All this was made possible because of the late George Werntz Jr. '33, then-director of admissions, and his good friend, the late W. Sterling Cole '25, congressman from Bath, NY. Arguably, Congressman Cole was the best friend the Navy had on Capitol Hill at the time -- hence my early discharge.

     I attended the memorial service for my president, Everett Needham Case, at the chapel on September 17; a beautiful and moving celebration of his life and, in my opinion, his extraordinary wife Josephine, the only daughter of Owen D. Young. Three of the four Case children were present. Josephine Edmonds Case (named for her grandmother) read from the poems of Josephine Y. Case as well as from her own. James Case read selections from Holy Scripture.

     It is my great misfortune not to have known Everett and Josephine Case personally. The last time I spoke briefly with the couple must have been in the 1980s -- at the Colgate Inn. I had recently purchased and had commenced reading their biography of Ody (Owen D. Young and American Enterprise, Godin, Boston, 1982). I mentioned the book. They seemed pleased; Mrs. Case smiled and said: "Bob, it is a long book." And so it is -- more than 900 pages of text and end notes. I regret to say I did not finish the book in the 1980s.

     Since the September memorial service, I have read their superb work. Ody died in 1962. Soon thereafter, prominent New York banker Herbert Case (Everett's father and close friend of Ody years before the youthful Everett became Ody's assistant) encouraged the couple to write the biography. After much preliminary research they "put pen to paper" in 1969. Herbert died in 1972, in his 99th year. The book was completed in late 1980. I believe that through reading Owen D. Young and American Enterprise I have a better understanding of the first half of the 20th century, with the technological revolution grounded in electricity and the new economy of that era unequalled to this day, and of that farm boy from Van Hornesville, NY who reached the very pinnacle, inter alia as a utilities lawyer, general counsel (GE) and chairman of the board (GE), the father of RCA, NBC and RKO.

     May God forgive me for my nonfeasance -- my failure to do what I ought to have done in the 1980s.

     May God bless Josephine Young Case and Everett Needham Case.

ROBERT ADAMS BOYD '52
Binghamton, NY


An extraordinary president
. . . Everett Needham Case was an extraordinary president for Colgate, with great understanding and sensitivity to his role in 1946 shortly after the end of the World War II.

     He became my mentor and confidant, and I was the recipient of the most significant gift that had a major impact on my life.

     Shortly after returning to Colgate in February 1946, I had started a discussion group called FOCUS (Forum of Colgate University Students), was playing on the tennis team, rejoined the Thirteen and became president of the Masque and Triangle and rushing chairman for Sigma Chi. President Case asked me, and I'm sure others, to help retain and reinvigorate the many traditions that were prevalent prior to the upheaval brought upon the university by the war.

     That request brought me into frequent and continuous contact with President Case for the balance of my stay at Colgate.

     President Case asked me to find an appropriate speaker for Andy Kerr's retirement banquet in the fall of 1946, and I represented Colgate with President Case at Princeton University's Bicentennial Convention in 1946.

     The significant gift provided to me by President Case was his assurance that I would get my BA from Colgate if Harvard University awarded me my masters in business administration. I had been accepted by Harvard for the class starting in September 1947 (and am confident that President Case played a major role in my acceptance).

     True to his promise, while working on the third shift at Scott Paper Co in January 1950, I received my degree from Colgate.

     Do you wonder at my tremendous admiration, respect and affection for the outstanding role Everett Needham Case played as president of Colgate?

SHERMAN L. TIBBETTS '44
Easton, PA

 

Real world grip
. . . What is with Mary H. Moran [associate professor of anthropology] and her letter to the editor of Newsweek (11/27/00)? She writes, on her speaking on sexual harassment at Colgate:

     "I also have a well-known policy of not accepting invitations to the events in sorority and fraternity houses. This policy is based on the fact that I have spoken and voted against the continuation of the fraternity/sorority system at Colgate on numerous public occasions and could think myself nothing less than a hypocrite if I then accepted their hospitality. My opposition to the system is based on 15 years of experience watching Colgate students (both male and female) break into tears in my office because they were not accepted into the `right' house . . ."

     First of all, this "system" has been a part of Colgate a lot longer than Moran has indeed been alive. And a very important part, too. Ask the alumni.

     If the disappointment of students is the cause of her displeasure, is she also against the corporations and companies coming on campus for job recruiting, where the rejection rate is far greater and far more life- changing? Is she also against Colgate (and all private colleges) that reject vast numbers of applicants?

     Get a grip, Mary! There is a real world out there, and we don't always get what we want. College is a learning experience and so is the Greek System and so is life.

     Moran obviously has an agenda and with her "academic freedom" she is inside an institution trying to remake it for the sake of her own beliefs.

W. JOHN LITTLE '54
Port St. Lucie, FL

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