|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.
Higher Education Costs
. . . I'm sure the university did not overlook the recent lead story in the March 17, 1997, issue of Time magazine on the cost of higher education. While the story was focused on the University of Pennsylvania, I suspect, that with some modification, it could have been written about Colgate. I also suspect the issues and questions raised in the article are not going to go away but will be getting more and more attention in the near future on both the public and private levels. I have two children who are just starting families. They are both Colgate graduates and I suspect, when the time comes, they would very much
like to see their children attend Colgate. Based on events of the last 15 years, I have no clue as to how to advise them to prepare for that chance 15 years from now. Do they pauperize themselves to live in communities with the most upscale public schooling and tutor their children to a higher level of academic excellence, or is it a better bet to put away 20 percent of their after-tax income every year? I'm sure that's too simplistic, but there are difficult decisions that have to be made early on by most conscientious parents, and I do not hear the higher education community offering any guidance to the future. I would be proud if my college was one of the first to publicly make a study of these issues and announce its long term goals and forecasts.
Can we, for instance, count on the increase in private education endowments to offset future tuition and cost increases, and if so, can the country stand a steadily increasing percentage of its savings or investments held in non-profit portfolios?
As a defense attorney, I am acutely aware of the struggle my insurance clients have with increasing legal costs. In devising cost control measures, unfortunately the attorneys themselves (thought to be the problem) are often kept out of the search for solutions. That should not happen with the upcoming struggle over the cost of higher education. Our universities have both the insight and the talent to publicly take the lead in searching for solutions, assuming, of course, that they can identify a problem. I would like to see Colgate in the vanguard.
PHILIP A. BROOKS '54
. . . Please know that David Reddall (the Colgate Scene, March 1997, Letters) does not represent the ethical standards, the economic thinking and the literary skills of most Colgate people.
NORRIS W. FORD '56
Big Time Hypocrisy
. . . The hypocrisy in "big time" college sports is almost beyond belief. To meet an obsession with winning, the exploitation of those kids is tragic. I have often pondered if the struggle isn't with the American culture itself. We are a sports-obsessed nation and non-intellectual if not anti-intellectual. However, most of the leaders in American Industry are graduates of the colleges fighting to maintain academic standards while being competitive in sports.
So, I don't think we are "vestiges clinging to another time" (your quote), because setting and meeting high standards is always a lonely struggle, but a worthy struggle because Colgate and many other fine colleges and universities are preparing and producing the kinds of people so desperately needed in today's business and social environments.
JOHN P. MCLAUGHLIN '54
. . . In response to Cristin Howley's letter "Disgusted": if parenthood and the activity it results from disgust you, then don't read the article. I find motherhood and taking responsibility for one's actions to be ethical and moral, and at the very least, are as deserving of attention as varsity sports are. Colgate University is an educational institution, not an exclusive, private club of the like-minded. I am interested in what is happening at Colgate. I am not interested in some public-relations whitewash or a bland greeting card about the weather in Hamilton, NY. Ms. Howley is upset because some students have not conformed to her notion of social behavior and that the Colgate Scene publicized the courage and the diligence of these students. Ms. Howley would rather that we ignore student par-enthood. Most of us want to know what is going on at Colgate, not be fed some palatable fiction. Please continue to practice responsible journalism at the Colgate Scene.
MARIE KWASNIEWSKI '78
. . . I was taken aback by the reaction of Miss Cristin Howley to the article you ran in January on Colgate students with children (Letters, Colgate Scene, March issue). I, myself, was so impressed by the article that I cut it out and sent a copy to a friend of mine here in Manhattan who runs a crisis pregnancy center that offers support to women facing pregnancies under difficult circumstances so that they can bring their babies successfully to birth. The maturity and responsibility of the students featured are, quite frankly, not what one generally expects from the "hardy partyers" that populate most small liberal arts colleges. In sending it to my friend, I thought it might serve as a source of encouragement to others. Since Miss Howley cannot possibly be so naive as to think that the students featured in the article are the first or only ones having sex at Colgate, I wonder what it was about them that she found so particularly "disgusting" and in "poor taste." (Their stories, she tells us, detracted from her enjoyment of Colgate's athletic successes. Imagine.) Is the breach of etiquette of fornication to be looked for in the fact that their unions were fruitful? Or was it "classless" (!) of these parents to have brought their children, once conceived, to birth? If Miss Howley would like to start a campaign to put coeds in chastity belts she can enlist my help any day. But I think it's rather hypocritical to treat as pariahs the rare students who act with courage in allowing nature to take her wonted course uninhibited.
ANNE (NELLIGAN) RAO '87
. . . Your interesting front page article "WRCU, the first station in the '90s" inspires me to extend the history presented back a few years.
WCU, Colgate's first campus radio station, began operating by 1952, probably in 1950 or 1951. It was an a.m. carrier current station at a relatively interference-free spot on the dial; 890 k.c., if I remember correctly. It could be heard clearly on the hill and reasonably well throughout Hamilton. The station was founded by Charles Laidlaw, business director; William Thompson, program director, and myself, technical director.
There had been earlier attempts to establish a station. I believe Creighton Hartill was one proponent. These attempts were based on the purchase of commercial equipment, for which the cost was relatively high. Success came with a low-cost proposal -- a whole station for $250. Lloyd Huntley's student activities committee approved the proposal and funded it, perhaps with some skepticism.
The low cost was possible because the station was built from scratch. The electronic equipment came as parts from Allied Radio Corporation, a supplier firm in Chicago. The transmitter was constructed in the physics department lab with a soldering iron borrowed from Professor Donald Berkey. The Spear House studio construction also followed this homemade route. The simple approach extended to sound effects. One of the more popular programs played records "from under Taylor Lake" with sound effects coming from air blown through a drinking straw into a water glass.
The article also mentions a ham radio license. An amateur radio station was founded (1948? 1949?) in a basement room of Andrews Hall, using a long-wire antenna that ran along the edge of the golf course in back of that building. The activity stopped abruptly after an able sharpshooter, probably firing from a room in Andrews Hall, destroyed an insulator that held the antenna aloft.
I am pleased to read that WRCU is alive and well.
H. DAVID WILLEY '52
An omission filled
. . . I enjoyed the Scene article on WCU/WRCU and was surprised to see my name mentioned. The one omission that I feel needs to be filled concerns the origin of the station. As I remember my 1951 freshman encounter with the then-WCU, we were introduced to the three founding fathers of the station, which was then only one or two years old. I believe that Dave Willey '52, technical director, Chuck Laidlaw '52, business man-ager, and Bill Thomas '52, program director, were the spark plugs who put us on the air for the first time. If my memory serves me this was an outgrowth of a previous Amateur Radio Club at Colgate. I believe that Dave Willey built the first transmitter, which was able to reach the hill only (due to technical limitations of the carrier current type of transmission). That year about 50 members conducted nighttime-only operations.
The name of the station was changed from WCU to WRCU during the 1953-54 school year in order to keep with Federal Communications Commission custom. That same year I remember building a second transmitter in my basement room in Andrews Hall under the careful eye of technical director Jim Lloyd '54. I'm sure I spent more time on that transmitter than on a chemistry hour exam preparation! When it was installed in the Faculty Club basement we finally covered Fraternity Row. That was also a growth year in the programming department. When we were sponsored in the acquisition of a United Press news tele-type service we became a "real" broadcast news outlet. I believe John McLaughlin '54 was the mover on this one. We also joined the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System that year. That was the year we first claimed to be the largest organized activity at Colgate.
In '54-'55 when Jerry Eisenberg '58 joined us as a freshman we were in the midst of (frantically) installing a commercial two-studio console, which allowed us a more professional presentation. We also added a remote amplifier for the first WRCU play-by-play presentation of the Yale-Colgate football game. This first remote broadcast was even more meaningful because Colgate and Yale were both undefeated, exams were on Saturday, the majority of students could not attend the game in person, and spirits were high. I suspect that this was our largest audience to date.
More than 45 years of growth and experimentation show that the dream of the founders was on the mark. The need for, and cooperation of, the wide variety of skills and interests make WRCU a vibrant force. I wonder what the next 45 will bring.
MARVIN R. CLINCH '55
More on 90.1
. . . I enjoyed reading "WRCU, the first station in the '90s" in your March 1997 issue and seeing just how active the station is today. You say that it was a "new radio station" in 1954, but some of us can tell you that it was also new in 1951 because we built WCU that year. As I recall, Dave Willey, Bill Thomas and Charles Laidlaw were the cofounders. Dave went to New York one vacation and came back with a load of electronics. Since I knew how to run a soldering iron, I got in on the construction, under Willey's guidance. I believe that we were on the air the spring of 1951, with a.m. carrier current transmission, which got us from broadcast facilities in the basement of Spear House all the way down to the Row. "Remotes" were obtained using the philosophy and religion depart-ment's (heavy!) tape recorder. The 1952 Sal shows 50 students associated with WCU.
DAVE MILLER '52
Post Office Boxes
. . . One of those P.O. boxes (cover, March 1997 Scene) could have been mine. In 1932 (approx.) the postal service from the administration Building was extended to the entire campus by the president, Dr. Cutten. In his humble office on the second floor, Prexy appointed me the first carrier, at the prevailing rate of 40 cents per hour. That afforded me the opportunity to become acquainted not just with students but with the entire faculty and administrative personnel, I'm proud to say. Some of those friendships I cultivated for years.
WILFRID J. CARAGOL '35
. . . Your cover photo on the March issue of the Colgate Scene showing P.O. boxes starting at 5292 reminds me that time creates changes and yet some things remain the same. I think of the fall of 1939 where, anxiously, of course, I checked box 852 hoping for a letter. The Colgate Station handles much more mail today, yet students still check P.O. boxes automatically. E-mail is in order today, yet I am still using the two fingered approach to the keyboard!
In 1939, more often than not, I lucked out with mail produced by typing till the wee small hours in West Hall. I was rewarded by five-pagers from Ann Arbor describing frat parties or perhaps describing a crowd of 80,000 cheering Tom Harmon on to victory. My Cornell friend titillated a Hamilton-starved imagination with tales of dalliance featuring the daughter of his housemother. The habit of typing letters until 2 or 3 in the morning admittedly had its downside. Early morning classes faded into dream-land until Prof. Bewkes interceded with a loud, "Mr. Lanni!"
The Colgate P.O., in 1939, was assigned to the northern corner of the recently built student union and claimed perhaps two or three regular employees. Your cover photo indicated that box numbers extended beyond 5334; obviously a sign of the '90s. Double dials on the box doors no doubt express our preoccupation with security. If I recall correctly, one dial seemed to handle things nicely on box 852! Most of the time the dial was set so that a minimum of twirling was needed to retrieve messages or letters. A letter from Ann Arbor was graced with a three-cent stamp and when my two-fingered reply was posted before noon, it usually arrived a day later to be enjoyed, critiqued or disagreed with.
I'm sure we can all agree that Time flies like an arrow; Fruit flies like a banana and I still retain most of the letters sent to box 852. It's fun re-reading.
DAVID S. LANNI '43
. . . Rather than a routine letter to the editor, please consider this an epistle on Colgate baseball.
Baseball is still considered by many to be America's Game, or America's Pastime. Millions of boys discover at an early age the thrill of "putting the bat on the ball" or the great feeling of the ball landing snugly into their glove. Getting on base, stealing second, and scoring on a basehit are other thrills experienced by those youngsters playing Little League, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, American Legion, and high school baseball.
Although most of those participants dream of playing in the big leagues, only a tiny percent will do so. On the other hand, most of the good players coming out of high school go on to finish their careers at the college level. Of course this level is "as good as it gets." It has good playing facilities, good umpires, fine equipment and uniforms, top-notch competition, and probably the best coaches to be found at any level, amateur or professional.
Lately, my wife, who is an avid baseball fan, and I have been enjoying some college games on television. Among those teams have been Louisiana State, Florida State, Miami University, University of Florida, and University of Maine. All of those institutions have had teams participate in the College World Series. This event is held each June in Omaha for the championship. In 1955 Colgate was one of the eight teams vying for that championship. The "Red Raiders" fell short when they lost to eventual champion Wake Forest.
Now, many students having played baseball all of their young lives, must choose a college other than Colgate if they wish to continue playing beyond the high school level. Not only does the college game afford young men the opportunity of playing under good coaches and at a fine level of competition, but adds much to their educational experience. In addition, it can provide a foundation for a coaching career at the high school or college level after their playing days are over. Colgate gave me that wonderful opportunity.
The thrill of playing college baseball is made quite evident when we consider some of Colgate's finest athletes better known for excelling in other sports. Among those Hall of Honor members having played for or coached "Raider" baseball teams are former hockey greats Greg Batt, Ole Kollevoll and Tom Dockrell. Also, the following football stars had success as "Raider" diamondmen: Dick Offenhamer, Al Egler, Karl Kluckhohn, Dick Lalla, Guy Martin and of course present Athletic Director Mark Murphy. All would undoubtedly agree that college baseball is great fun and is indeed a thinking man's game.
Title IX was never intended to deprive young men of the opportunity to play collegiate baseball. Several institutions, among them Brown University and the University of New Hampshire, are now seeking to right that wrong interpretation of Title IX. The result of their efforts is a bit late to save the Raider baseball field. It may, how-ever, bolster that Colgate spirit, which is shining through those players continuing the "Raider" baseball tradition under the ban-ner of the Colgate Baseball Club.
Perhaps, in time, the Colgate administration will reinstate baseball as a varsity sport in much the same way as the University of New Hampshire is hoping to save its program. That institution's alumni, parents, and friends are hoping to build an endowment which will eventually fund the entire varsity baseball budget.
BOB BURLINGAME '52