The Colgate Scene
November 1999
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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.

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Town and country
. . . The two-page spread on town and country in the September Scene was wonderful. I enjoyed seeing scenes from around Hamilton, especially my friend Eric Starkweather, with whom I just visited at reunion.


'69 Recall
. . . Referring to Raoul Bataller's article in the September Colgate Scene, "30 years ago: Class of '69 recall," it is a relief to know that he now realizes "Colgate has been doing something forthright and constructive" while he wasn't looking.

     Most of the rest of us somehow worked through growing-up struggles to survive, taking stands for right and wrong and giving a hand to others along the way.

We can all benefit from reevaluating and revitalizing the foundations of our lives and, as Raoul says, "be true to yourself and your principles and to each other."

     However, Colgate continued to grow strong while he was away, even though "classes were composed of people of widely different views" . . . Raoul need not to worry about picking up his sheepskin -- some more appreciative person has long ago grabbed it!

Yarmouth, Maine


. . . The observations of Raoul Bataller in the September Scene reek with self-pity. They are an affront to Colgate alumni who love Alma Mater as well as its environment which was so grievous to him.

     Having returned for his 30th reunion, Mr. Bataller now gushes with admiration for the campus, professors, staff and happy students. Better late than never, but spare me from his patronizing remarks that

     ". . . while we weren't looking, Colgate has been doing something forthright and constructive about its needs and become a splendor to behold."

     In particular I take exception to his dreading ". . . the likely misery of expatriation to Canada if our hardhat WWII-victor fathers didn't get off our backs." He should know that before November 7, 1941 some of our undergraduate classmates left Colgate and went to Canada -- not for expatriation but to enlist in Canadian armed forces that were already committed to the battle for freedom.

     It's too bad Mr. Bataller didn't transfer to a coed college in a warmer climate, for then we would have been spared his snide remarks such as "We weren't as good as Harvard or Yale . . . We and Cornell were the Capital of Hubris in New York State . . . didn't bother returning to pick up the sheepskin."

Islip, NY

. . . As a longtime Colgate enthusiast, I look forward to each year's magazine rankings of liberal arts colleges. The latest USNews rankings again placed us in the national top 20 (tied for 18th). While elements of this rating system remain as a proxy for institutional wealth and financial resources (where Colgate has advanced thanks to the last fundraising campaign), the most distressing category was alumni participation. Our two-year average of 43 percent was exceeded by 16 schools ahead of us in the rankings. Knowing Colgate alumni to be passionate about our alma mater and often full of competitive zeal, I wonder how it is that we don't seem to stack up well in this cagetory with Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Bowdoin and even nearby Hamilton (with 51 percent participation), to name just a few. I am hoping the Colgate spirit will show itself again and that we will return ourselves at least to the 50 percent level, where we belong. Someday the world will recognize Colgate as one of the nation's top 10 liberal arts colleges, but our alumni need to demonstrate our pride and appreciation by showing the way.

Slingerlands, NY

. . . If the people of the United States want to know what is wrong with the world, they should focus on the deficiencies in the media. If they want to know what those deficiencies are, they should look at the Colgate Scene, which has the following policy. If Jim Leach, the editor, hates you (as he does me and many others), he will not print your letters to the editor. Leach and those in the media like him who hate everyone and everything have destroyed this nation.

Wilmington, DE

More numbers
. . . The September 1999 issue of The Colgate Scene has a very interesting front page titled "Colgate by the Numbers."

     In the section "International students," you mention 26 nationalities. I just want to add France as the 27th . . .

     Our eldest son, Jean-François, was a Colgate student from, I think, 1992 to 1996. Now our second son, Olivier-Marc Sanjay, belongs to the 2001 class. And hopefully, in 2004, our last son Xavier will join Colgate for some very exciting years.

     Well, we are a kind of international family: I am French, my wife is originally Pakistani, and French for the last 24 years of her life. For the last 12 years we have been living in Delhi where I am attached to the French Embassy. Our two eldest children started studying at the American School at Lahore (Pakistan). Both of them graduated at the American Embassy School at New Delhi, where Xavier is now studying in 8th grade. Here are the first quarter results of the next Lafont candidate to Colgate University.

     My wife and I went to Colgate for the graduation of Jean François, and we are preparing for the next trip in 2001 for Olivier's graduation.

     Hope to see you then and there.

     Thanking you for the Colgate Scene, which we always read with pleasure.

Jean-Marie Lafont, SOF
New Delhi

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