Share Button

Towards the end of Caren Lissner C’93’s cover story “Good Grief” on Colin Campbell C’91, whose two teenage children died in a car crash five years ago, she recounts Campbell’s response on a podcast to a caller who spoke of continuing to think about a childhood friend who had died years before. Campbell urged her to put aside any fears of reopening old wounds and reach out to the friend’s family to let them know that their child was still remembered. “Grief doesn’t need reigniting,” he said. “It’s already there.”

Since the deaths of his son Hart and daughter Ruby—killed by a drunk driver on the way to a family vacation home in a car with Campbell and his wife Gail Lerner—Campbell has worked in various ways to reach a point of modeling what he calls “good grief” (the source for the article title). He talks about overcoming the initial fear that his grief would drive him insane, pouring his raw feelings into a performance piece subtitled “a one-man shitshow,” and writing his book Finding the Words: Working Through Profound Loss With Hope and Purpose to share his experience and help others facing their own losses, a brief excerpt from which accompanies the story.

Tragedies like this can split couples, but Campbell and Lerner have managed to stay close both through times when their feelings were in sync and when they were at different stages, and even to do things like revive an annual party including Hart’s and Ruby’s friends and families and move toward adopting two children from the foster care system. But the loss is always present. “It doesn’t feel like I ever have pure joy,” he told Caren. “It’s always joy mixed with grief.”

Another kind of loss—of American jobs and traditional industries to globalization—is one component of photographer Christopher Payne GAr’96’s new collection Made In America. But the main focus is on the resilience and variety of US manufacturing, which Payne conveys in extraordinary images that powerfully communicate what it’s like to make things.

His subjects range from spaces for the production of pencils and Peeps, Martin guitars and Steinway pianos; to the multimillion-square-foot factory floors where jet aircraft, nuclear submarines, and washing machines are assembled; to the climate-controlled, lab-like spaces where newer materials—ribbon ceramics, silicon wafers, “carbon-negative” carpet backing—are created. In all of them, Payne more than meets his stated goal of providing “useful information—and beauty!” in his photographs.

In our increasingly polarized world, the philosophy behind the Penn SNF Paideia Program can seem a bit farfetched, but the experiment has been gaining adherents on campus since the program was established some five years ago. In addition to a focus on “dialogue across difference,” the program is built around the pillars of citizenship, service, and wellness.

In “Creating Civil Citizens,” Julia M. Klein talks with Paideia’s inaugural director Michael X. Delli Carpini C’75 G’75 and current director Sigal R. Ben-Porath about the program’s history and future, as well as sampling some of the 70 or so “Paideia-designated” courses and interviewing students on what they’ve gotten out of their participation. The controversies erupting at Penn and elsewhere since October 7 have presented new challenges to Paideia’s goals, but Ben-Porath expressed the hope that the program can provide a template for respectful dialogue—with an emphasis on listening as well as speech—for others on campus.

—John Prendergast C’80

Share Button

    Leave a Reply