Misunderstandings, omissions, complaints, and a few compliments.
PENN IS ALREADY ‘PREMIER’
Former Penn provost Stanley Chodorow still doesn’t get it. His alienation with the University was never so evident to me as when I read his comments in “Stanley Chodorow Speaks Out,” [“Gazetteer,” December 1997]. He states, “I think that 20 or 30 years from now, Penn will be regarded as one of the premier institutions of the country.” I guess in his position as Penn’s “chief academic officer,” he failed to take note of the fact that our undergraduate school is rated in the top 10 nationally, and that the University has some of the finest graduate programs anywhere in the world. After three years at a school everyone else considers a “premier institution,” it seems Chodorow still fails to fully grasp the intellect, talent, and ambition of the students he has “led.”
Virginia Beach, Va.
ANOTHER ARCHITECT COVER CANDIDATE
Your feature story on Ricky Wurman was interesting [“The Commissioner of Curiosity,” December 1997], but no Penn architect is more deserving of being honored on the cover of your excellent magazine than William Kent Cooper, Ar’51. I was pleased to bring the spotlight on Kent in an article for the Winter 1997 issue of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity’s magazine, The Cross & Crescent, which describes how he has directed the architectural design of two of the nation’s most recognizable war memorials — the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial, both in Washington, D.C. Kent took advanced studies with Eero Saarinen at Cranbrook and then went on to win the Paris Prize and studied in Europe for a year. He married a graduate of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, whom he met at Cranbrook.
Many of us in the Class of 1951 were returning veterans. Kent had served in Japan with the occupying forces. I was a South Pacific veteran and a Lambda Chi. Kent and I undertook many adventures together. Both of us served as president of our chapter and were members of hexagon. We were the leaders of the student upris- ing that brought the end of the Beaux Arts system at Penn and brought the Modern movement to the school with the advent of the new dean, Holmes Perkins. In some ways, the advent of Perkins, who brought on Louis Kahn and all the great personalities that followed, made Penn the leader in architecture-planning, etc. that we all recognize today.
OBITUARY WAS INCOMPLETE
The obituary for Eugene Michels, PT’51, G’67, Faculty, that appeared in the November 1997 Gazette was so incomplete as to not begin to approach the influence or achievements of the man. During his time at Penn, a period that ended when the University summarily discontinued the School of Allied Medical Professions (SAMP), this beloved professor and mentor was, arguably, the strongest force in the profession of physical therapy throughout the world.
He served two terms as president of the American Physical Therapy Association, followed by two terms as president of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy. He fostered the personal and professional development of students and colleagues and stimulated their search for evidence to support practice. Michels nurtured many to assume the responsibility of professional involvement within the local and broader community, leading trips to the USSR and China in the early 1970s.
Michels worked behind the scenes at the American Physical Therapy Association to assure a continuing commitment to professional development and ethical practice. His death leaves a major void within our profession that will be difficult to fill. Several thousand graduates of the University are imbued with his idealism as well as his enduring love of life and learning.
Jan Stephen Tecklin
Department of Physical Therapy
IS THIS SARCASTIC? ABSOLUTLY!
I was delighted to see the old tippler, Ben Franklin, put to good use on the back cover of the November issue plugging, no doubt, what was once his favorite beverage. How clever of the Gazette to recruit the obsolete founder to shill for a major distiller. Gaffers like Ben ought to be kept out to pasture unless, of course, they can be found to have some commercial value, as was the case here. Well done!
Cyrus J. Sharer
St. Davids, Pa.
ALPHABET SOUP EXPLAINED
Wow! Finally, someone at the Gazette realized that the alphabet soup at the ends of people’s names were too confusing for most readers. I, for one, spent a total of nine years at Penn and still didn’t understand all of the school abbreviations that the University used and that appeared in the Gazette. Thank you so much for including the table of school abbreviations on p. 56 of the December 1997 issue! Now, if we can only get a description of the schools …
Michael A. Goldstein
W’86, WG’91, G’92, Gr’93
We publish the table of school abbreviations several times per year as space is available. The table is also posted on the Gazette Web site, www.upenn.edu/gazette — Ed.
RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN ALUMNI IS WELCOME, OVERDUE
I just got around to reading the Gazette and wanted to tell you that I enjoy it every time. There’s always some bit that brings me back to campus or to West Philly. I am especially pleased about your editorial comment that the inclusion of foreign alumni recognizes the increasingly global nature of Penn as an institution [“From the Editor,” October 1997]. I’ve written to the alumni society on just that point a number of times and hope my comments have helped form the basis for your statement.
Thank you for sending me a good read!
Sven H.E. Borei
The Gazette is one of my favorite magazines, and not primarily because of its connection to the University. But it keeps me posted on the life, thought, and mores of the young.
The capacity to get into trouble, think outrageous thoughts, and irritate one’s elders seems the special province of students. I hope they never change.
Richard C. Brockway
Port Washington, N.Y.