|The Colgate Scene invites responsible letters, addressed to the
editor, regarding any subject that may be considered of interest to the
Colgate community. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.
. . . Fellow Colgate alum Rich Sands had it wrong when he tried to characterize my policy on employment discrimination in the Attorney General's office (Letters, March Scene).
In response to similarly misinformed statements, I have repeatedly said that I abhor discrimination, and that it is not my policy to discriminate against anyone in employment, hiring and promotion on the basis of their sexual preference.
Throughout my career, the only criteria that I have considered when making employment decisions have been an individual's qualifications, performance and the need to provide the best possible legal representation on behalf of the people I serve.
Incidentally, I also disagree with the final assertion of Mr. Sands' letter in that I believe the Scene does an excellent job in reporting on campus events and issues that involve Colgate alumni with both fairness and clarity. Keep up the good work.
DENNIS C. VACCO '74
. . . I have just completed voting for my choice for the Board of Overseers of Harvard University. What a refreshing experience. The Board of Overseers is one of Harvard's governing boards. The other is the President and Fellows known as the Corporation.
The Overseers are not concerned with the day-to-day management of the University. Their role is to visit and see that the departments and graduate schools are true to its Charter as a place of learning and institutional excellence. Their President is none other than the distinguished Theodore M. Hesburg CSC, former President of Notre Dame.
My attraction to this group has to do with its selection process. To quote Father Hesburg: "Harvard is unusual among American private universities in vesting in its degree holders the authority to elect the entire senior governing board." This confers on the alumni the opportunity and responsibility to help shape the University on a continuing basis. It is high time that the alumni of Colgate University be given this same opportunity as a counterbalance to the Faculty Senate, who wander off into social issues when they should be concentrating on education.
It is the alumni who cover the financial shortfall to keep the University going. The alumni in an overseers system would be providing an audit and leadership mechanism for all university programs. I am reasonably certain that the faculty departments would begin to focus on the visits from their assigned overseer rather than daydreaming about political correctness and closing down fraternities. This means attention to education.
Governance of universities, foundations and other non-profits needs an overhaul. Governing boards in most instances are selected by a small circle of board members who make up a nominating committee selected by the president. At best their circle of candidates is miniscule and in actual fact they do not have the time to screen a panel of selectees. In the case of the Overseers, they are nominated by an alumni committee of about 15 members who nominate eight people for six-year terms. The board is made up of 30 members. The power of non-profit governance needs to be given to the publics who make up the society making up the entity.
Of all the publics, the alumni are the most loyal, the most knowledgeable about their universities' soul and the most balanced because they have to live in a world of realism in order to keep society functioning on a day-to-day basis. Envision if you can having someone with Father Hesburg's talent leading a group of overseers in Hamilton, NY during the next millenium. Perhaps some of the architectural accouterments would all of a sudden turn into university chairs, fellowships and study groups in Haiti.
GEORGE N. MAYER '45
Editor's note: At the time Mr. Mayer wrote, Colgate's 32-member board of trustees comprised 31 men and women graduates of the college and Neil Grabois, its president. Six members of the Colgate board are elected to their positions by a vote of the Alumni Corporation's board of directors, subject to trustee ratification. The Alumni Corporation board is elected by the alumni body. The board of trustees was increased in size to a maximum of 36 members at its May meeting. In a phone conversation subsequent to his letter, Mr. Mayer made clear that his issue is with "the self-perpetuation of nonprofit boards."
Remembering Jack Mitchell
. . . I am just returning from a short trip with two of my dearest friends from Colgate, having just learned of Jack Mitchell's passing. All weekend, the Scene was lying open on the back seat of my friend's VW, that picture of him reclining in his office chair greeting me each time I approached the car. It was exactly the image of him I remember from the countless times I stumbled into his office to seek his advice, unburden a dilemma, or just to say hello. His door was never closed. He was never busy with anything he wouldn't set aside instantly. He always had time to listen. The last time I saw him was at my five year reunion. I had wandered away from Whitnall, looking for a little solitude, and found myself heading down College Street past his house.
"Jennifer! Mary, come outside, its Jennifer Martino!" He greeted me with a bear hug. "Come, come in back and sit." As we drank iced tea on the patio, I told him that I had only survived my medical school's embryology course thanks to his excellent class. In fact, I had given tutorials to my classmates from his handouts. It was his teratology seminar that sparked my interest in prenatal and pediatric imaging.
I thanked him for his advice to avoid taking too many undergraduate science classes. I promised I was trying to work towards the potential he felt I could reach with more effort than I tend to exert. I told him I wanted to become a teacher myself, having learned the value of one who could push the best out of his students. He told me he was planning to retire, but that the department still needed him for at least another year. He never could turn away a student.
Three days ago I saw my first publication. His copy was sitting on my desk at home when Karen Durland picked me up from my train with the news. Now it's still here, and I am mourning the best teacher I ever had. To his wife and family I extend my most heartfelt condolences, for their loss was far greater than mine. I thank the heavens that I was lucky enough to have wandered into his office one day to ask a question about the pre-med program and left with an advisor. I only hope I can honor him by continuing to push myself to be all he assured me I could, and half of what he was.
JENNIFER M. MARTINO M.D. '89
Scene rekindles memories
I just finished reviewing the Colgate University homepage (www.colgate.edu), and then discovered The Colgate Scene on line. The Continuum section [of the May issue] was quite interesting, although reading the parting words of some old friends, Oostenink, Clarke and Reynolds, made me feel both sad and old!
Having spent four wonderful years in the Dept of Education ('68 through '72) under the late George Schlesser (he, of the drooling pipe),
I share many of the feelings stated by the above-named retirees. As I type this, I'm drinking from a pewter Colgate mug, given to me by the then-editors of the Colgate News for having served as faculty advisor for about four years. I was also DU faculty advisor when some idiot tried to set fire to their library on the Thursday of Mothers' Day weekend. Those were unforgettable years, and I remember several of the students Jim Clarke mentioned.
E. DUANE MEYER, Ed. D.