The Colgate Scene
May 2000
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Letters
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The Colgate spirit
. . . I have been associated with Colgate University for almost 50 years. Three of my children attended, and so did their respective spouses. Our memories and experiences have been the very best. However, nothing in those years demonstrated the "spirit that is Colgate" more powerfully than the Colgate community's reaction to the sudden, unexpected, death of our grandson, Ian Porter Hale. Ian was just 20 months old. The pain from this tragic event is something our families and Ian's parents, Ingrid '89 and David Hale '84, who both work at Colgate, will carry with us forever.

     I know none of us could have made it through those wrenching days without the incredible support from Colgate and the Town of Hamilton. The outpouring of help, words of courage, and deeply felt sorrow, generated an enormous amount of strength which we all needed. It was a display that dramatically reinforced what an exceptionally special place Colgate is. For this we will be grateful always.

     On behalf of my wife Heide, and all the members of the Hale and Miller families -- thank you.

GORDON P. MILLER '56
Oxford, NH


Sacrifice and scholarship
. . . Several years ago I had written regarding the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and my anticipation that the Scene would remember and honor those Colgate alumni who served. The 1995 issues of The Cross and Crescent (Lambda Chi Alpha magazine), The Scroll (Phi Delta Theta magazine) and St. Olaf College Magazine had done just that. An example of the stories to be told would be that of Colgate's football All-American Ellery C. Huntington, as a colonel in the OSS.

     This year's January issue did recognize the 166 alumni who gave their lives in World Wars I and II as background for the Alumni Memorial Scholarship article. My questions are: Why the name change from Alumni War Memorial and what process authorized this change? These loyal sons of Colgate are specially memorialized because they sacrificed their lives in war so that all of us, students, faculty, administration and alumni, could live free and pursue and accomplish goals such as those of the deserving scholars. Titles are important. For instance, the publication Colgate Prospectus, designed for potential admissions applicants, highlights the Alumni Memorial Scholar Program as "The highest honor within the admissions process" without mention of the background in honoring World War I and II alumni. Why?

     In his book, Faith of My Fathers, this year's Colgate commencement speaker, Senator John McCain, writes about the participation in the Pacific Campaign of his father, CDR John S. McCain (a submariner), and his grandfather, VADM John S. "Slew" McCain (a Naval advisor and Task Force Commander). Coincidentally, that 1995 issue of The Scroll honors Brother "Slew" McCain with a feature short story. Sen. McCain, himself a war hero, would, during his primary campaign, recognize World War II veterans in his audience by asking them to stand and be recognized.

     Perhaps an Alumni (War) Memorial Scholar will be interested in researching the heroics of the Colgate men honored by the scholarship. They gave their lives and tragically remind us that freedom isn't free.

     "How can a man learn to know himself? By Reflection? Never, only by action. In the measure in which those seekest to do thy duty shalt thou know what is in thee. But what is thy duty? The demand of the hour." -- Goethe

DON THIEDE '52
Melville, NY


Respect for vets
. . . Raoul Bataller's justification of his flight to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War has little to do with his sarcastic response to a letter from Joe DeBragga '43. That letter and the one in the March Scene from William Anderson '50 remind Bataller of the price paid by so many in WWII for the lives we enjoy today. I have nothing but respect for WWII veterans. I feel the same toward Vietnam vets, no matter how controversial was that war.

LEE CARTER '60
Lincoln City, OR


Answered prayer?
. . . I'm one of a small group of the Class of '50 who often met before breakfast in West Hall for prayer. Our burden was for Colgate, in the all-too-forlorn hope that the Lord of the Universe would bring to Christ our famously impious classmates, and a few professors.

     Now a half-century later, mirabile dictu, our alma mater is to sponsor a pilgrimage to the Oberammergau Passion Play! Are the prayers of rapt devotion from yesteryear soon to be answered?

     Or is it just that some prescient soul scooped up the Oberammergau tickets when they were scoopable, now to ladle them out for alumni who can't get them elsewhere? The trip's a good thing. The school is advertised, makes some money, and tells the story. Who could object?

     I have seen the play. Be it objectionable to any, it should be to Gentiles. The play is pro-Semitic, for the hero is a Jew raised from the dead. The children of Abraham are vindicated. The Romans were the contemptuous ones. They did the deed. They nailed the sarcastic "Hic est Iesus Rex Iudaeorum" above his head. How could the pragmatic Procurator of Judea not be guilty? A thousand languages from millions of voices for the two millennia since have chanted the phrase, "crucified under Pontius Pilate?" Crucifixion was unknown among Jews. Moses authorized only stoning. The Romans crucified him. The play must be anti-Gentile.

     Who charges Jews with deicide? Jesus taught the Shema, the essence of Judaism. "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, The Lord is one." Jesus said, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." Is Judaism to be called god-slaying for this?

     So, let Colgate go to Oberammergau. If it harms, it harms all equally; but if it redeems, then prayer may not be forlorn after all.

Rev. SHERWOOD W. ANDERSON, PhD '50
Lancaster, OH


Bip, bip, bip
. . . When I first heard that Professor Jim McLelland was retiring I knew I had to say something about a man who has given so much to Colgate. I first met Chief in the fall of my freshman year. He was my freshman seminar advisor. I remember being a little intimidated the first time I climbed to the top of Lathrop to meet with Chief to discuss my spring schedule. I was quickly at ease and discovered I probably had the best advisor on campus. I actually received advice on which professors to choose (and the truth is some are better than others) and was fully encouraged to take a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum. My roommates were rather jealous when I returned.

     My next encounter with Chief was petrology -- the only class I ever took where arriving ten minutes early was a matter of survival. You needed that time to begin copying over the melt curves and graphs, something that required at least four different colored pencils. I do not think there was another class that came close to this. Petrology culminated with "The Opportunity." This paper was our opportunity to show what we had learned. The Opportunity pulled together a semester's worth of notes. When you were done writing it you had a thorough understanding of the formation of an igneous intrusion. It is one of the few papers that still sit in a closet in my parents' home.

     Then on the geology summer off-campus study group, I spent a week with Chief in his true home, the Adirondacks. Surrounded by millions of bloodthirsty black flies, Chief stood impervious (I think they dared not bite him; the rest of us bore the brunt) in front of an outcrop. It was impossible to absorb everything that he said but even a small amount was a wealth of knowledge.

     So I wanted to say thank you, Chief, for enriching my life. And there you have it. Bip, bip, bip, the dance of the Chief.

CHRIS CHARITON '84
Saratoga Springs, NY


Hockey days
. . . Once every ten years or so, the men's ice hockey team manages to magically bring me back to an earlier time and place. For a few weeks I am transported to that less complicated time of my life in which the success of the Red Raider hockey team was paramount to nailing an Economics 301 midterm, more important even than finding a date to Fiji Island. For the precious weeks that the title run endures, the real world demands of being a parent, husband, homeowner and businessman are replaced by concerns over the best way to get to Detroit (in 1990, anyway, it was via Amtrak for Ellen, myself, Steve Byk and Christy Kalan) and whether our chosen motel in Lake Placid would be within walking distance of the downtown nightlife.

     I've just returned home from Albany and the hurt of the overtime loss to Michigan (enrollment 37,917, says the program) is still fresh, as is the memory of the gallant effort of the Colgate squad. The defeat marked perhaps Colgate's finest athletic hour, the Red Raiders having completed a three-goal comeback with just 48 seconds to go in regulation, only to have the apparent game-winning overtime goal called back by a referee with a quick and impertinent whistle. This time my travel mates were Ellen, nine-year old Janet and three-year old Sam, along with, of course, Steve and Phil Melnik. This partial reunion of the founding members of the R.V. Matteosian Fan Club was filled with shouting, laughter and song. Naturally, we caught up with the folks we first met at the Caboose on the way back from Cornell in 1980 -- Bob Gross, Bob McGaugh, along with Ed Ray, John Hubbard and new friend David Marostega.

     And so for a few weeks this March, I became 19 again, watching Guy Lemonde kick out a Clarkson shot to Chris Renaud, who feeds Dan Fridgen for the game-winner. I am 29 and witnessing an improbable run to the NCAA title game by a great Colgate team led by Dave Gagnon, Craig Woodcroft and Shawn Lillie. Here's hoping that ten years from now, or sooner, I'll have the opportunity to again become a carefree 39-year-old, captivated by the likes of Andy McDonald, Shep Harder and Mike Marostega, and for a few weeks have nothing seem quite so vital as one more Colgate win.

MICHAEL WLODY '82
Chappaqua, NY


Thanks to hockey
. . . A tremendous season in men's and women's ice hockey came to an end on Saturday, March 25 in Albany. As one of the thousands of Colgate students, alumni and fans in attendance, I would just like to say how proud I felt to be part of the university, both before, during and especially after that classic contest. The team's salute to the cheering fans after the disappointing loss in overtime showed just what true sportsmanship is supposed to be. Earlier in the overtime, when the apparent winning goal was disallowed, the Red Raiders didn't sulk and complain but instead continued to compete with a fierce intensity that was truly inspirational to all who witnessed it.

       As a member of Silver Puck for 20 years this June, I want to say thank you to coach Don Vaughan and his staff, and the magnificent effort put forth by Andy McDonald, Shep Harder and the rest of the team. My three-hour drive each way, and the look in the eyes of my 10-year-old son throughout the game spoke volumes. I couldn't help but remember coach Terry Slater, and how lucky we are to have coach Vaughan to carry on the tradition. We'll get 'em next year!

MARC FERTIK '80
East Brunswick, NJ

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