The Colgate Scene
March 1999
Table of contents
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.

Click here to submit a letter

Fine lecturers
. . . The January 1999 Scene brought news of the death of the two finest lecturers I had ever known, Doc Reading and Jim Mosel. Everyone knows how great Doc was and how he made history come alive and I still remember many of his sayings, many of which I can't repeat here. Jim Mosel, Class of 1940, was my professor of organizational psychology and adviser in the doctoral program at the business school at George Washington University. He did not have a doctorate and he did not write, but he was an incredible lecturer -- well organized -- and kept you interested with a wide knowledge of the latest scholarship. It seems to me that there is a message here for university administrations that by far the two best lecturers I ever sat through did not write, and one did not have a doctorate! It is ironic that their deaths both came at the same time.

Bethesda, MD

Doug, not just "Doc"
. . . Like generations of grads, I smiled broadly at Alvord's and Knapp's memories of "Doc" (Scene January 1999). I, too, recall an unforgettable Reading metaphor that dissolved the class into gales of laughter. He was trying to get across just how hard it was for the tired, conflict-ridden tsarist army to mount a counter-offensive in World War I. Finally, under General Brusilov, they did so. Here's Doc's description of what happened: "Imagine an arthritic old hippopotamus staggering to her feet" -- here, Reading starts to imitate what that must look like. "After immense efforts, she finally does so, takes one or two uncertain steps forward, and then collapses on top of all concerned" -- here, he makes the sounds of a hippo collapsing.

     Toward the end of my Colgate career, and for the rest of his life, I came to know Doug, not just "Doc," and I saw someone else entirely. I found a man of depth and sensibility, a lover of dogs and watcher of birds, a world traveler and connoisseur of fine wines and hotels, a considerate husband to his wife Janie, and a great lover of music in general and the violin in particular. In this latter regard I have another Reading memory that will stay with me as long as the Brusilov one (over which we laughed a lot). One day, at brunch at the Inn, in an inspired moment, Doug compared Napoleon's deployment of his troops at Austerlitz to the movements and tempi of Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. It was no less adept or original a metaphor than the hippopotamus. But then, Doug was a man of parts.

     He was equally a practitioner of friendship, and for that, even more than for his gift to many of us of his love for European history, I shall remember him gratefully all the days of my life.

Waupaca, WI

Role models
. . . It was great to hear about the state of television today from six alumni who are right in the thick of it. The late '60s and early '70s are often and rightly celebrated as a time of political and social change on campus, but there was also an artistic life, and these people made tremendous contributions to it. Barney Kellman '69 and his crew of dedicated actors scaffolded some daring and provocative plays in the Dana Arts Center, mirroring its raw, organic, from-the-inside-out architecture. John Romano '70's restless intellect was a stimulus to everyone who knew him, perhaps best expressed in his poems (I still remember one about Kennedy's head exploding). Ray Hartung '70 did as much as anyone to raise the aesthetic consciousness of the average Colgate man (this was before the full admission of women) by hauling great films to campus in his Cinematheque series ("Next week, The Bicycle Thief. Fifty cents a head. Slightly higher if you're not a head!"). People like Bob Barwick '70 and Marc Black '71 brought us creativity and style in the music they played in venues around campus. And that's just scratching the surface.

     Television is justly maligned as an intellectual wasteland, but it affects more people than any other medium. So what kind of people would you like to have contributing to it? These people have a strong sense of what Colgate gave to them, too, and as John says, "You have to keep in touch with that person." The sense of confidence that Ray describes -- "that you could tackle something on your own and accomplish something" -- is made possible in an environment where such things are valued. That seldom happens at large universities, no matter how good they are. These alumni not only gained that perspective, they passed it on to their peers. Based on my recent visits to campus, there are many such future alumni in the wings. They couldn't find better role models than these six.

Berkeley, CA

Top of page
Table of contents
<<Previous: "Reviews"