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Law School’s Keedy Was Expert in Both Criminal Codes and Dress Codes

A Remarkable Record,” by Dennis Drabble in the May/June issue brought back poignant threads of memory tying Professor Keedy to my days as a student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. It was a September opening of a new semester in the year 1948.

I had served in the Navy in World War II, and afterward, with the help of the G.I. Bill of Rights, I successfully satisfied the requirements for a bachelor of arts degree. The G.I. Bill also would pay for books and tuition at law school, as well as provide a nominal monthly cash allowance for rent, food, and incidentals. Although I cannot recall the cost of books in 1948, I do remember that tuition was $600 per semester. Without the help of the G.I. Bill, a law degree would have been unattainable for me.

The first class upon my first day at Penn Law was conducted by Professor Edwin R. Keedy, who taught criminal law. He was not a big man but very prim and a fastidious dresser. One might have said that he was a fashion plate, and on that day, with the temperature hovering over 90 degrees, he walked into class in a handsome business suit, complete with vest and tie. At more than 70 years of age, he exuded conservative 19th and early 20th century dress by wearing starched, pure white, two-inch collars that held his head and neck in a statuesquely upright pose. He had pince-nez glasses, and a stiff, white handkerchief perched in his jacket pocket.

Air conditioning was still in the future for the law school, and our only source of cooling, if cooling were an apt description, was limited to the air circulation provided by huge open windows and overhead fans that dangled on long extensions from high ceilings. In 1948, if memory serves me correctly, we had only three or four women in our law school class, and blue jeans, sandals, open collars, and dangling jewelry for men or women had not yet come into vogue.

With limited funds at my disposal during undergraduate school, I had not been prepared for the more rigorous dress code of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. I believed that, although it was the first day of class and ordinarily a higher dress standard than undergraduate school might have been expected for law students, some consideration would be given to the hot, humid weather, and the faculty would be lenient in dress allowance. On that first day of law school, on the first day of criminal law with Professor Keedy, I made the grievous error of appearing in a sport jacket, wearing a short-sleeved shirt, sans tie, with an open collar. My error was compounded when I found myself sitting in the first row of class, almost directly in front of the raised desk from which Mr. Keedy lectured. Windows were raised as high as possible and the fans whirred strenuously as he strode through the door, several books clutched in his stiffly moving arms.

Having placed the books on his desk and arranged his pince-nez glasses firmly upon his hawkish, pointed, New England nose, Professor Keedy walked around to the front of the desk, faced the class—and addressed me. With class roster in hand, he looked down at me directly, announced my name, and proceeded to lecture upon the proper appearance of a lawyer, which pointedly did not include an open-collar short-sleeved shirt, and concluded with a warning that, were it to occur in the future, I would have to learn criminal law somewhere else.

Jay S. Fichter L’51 Dallas

Annan Has Blood on his Hands

As the father of a new graduate (Shlomo Katz EAS’05) I was surprised and disappointed to find Mr. Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, as Commencement speaker [“Gazetteer”]. During the 1994 murders of 800,000 unarmed civilians in Rwanda, Mr. Annan was in charge of U. N. forces there, and could have stopped the massacre by ordering these forces to intervene against the perpetrators (who generally were without firearms, and committed the murders with machetes and similar implements). But he did nothing, giving tacit approval to mass murder. During Mr. Annan’s term as secretary-general he was responsible for the Iraq Oil for Food program, which enabled Saddam Hussein to build palaces and military installations, while starving and murdering the Iraqi people. Mr. Annan has blood on his hands, and my wife and I demonstrated against him at Commencement.

For decades the U.N. has taken the sides of dictators and terrorists against their innocent victims. We shouldn’t confuse the ideals of 1945 with its present reality, and we shouldn’t honor its leaders.

Jonathan Katz Clayton, MO

Bad Message

The selection of the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan as the Commencement speaker at Penn sends two messages: (a) the U.N. is to be praised for refusing to assist in the liberation of the Iraqi people from a brutal fascist dictatorship and (b) ethics are not important; if the U.N. officials can get rich personally from payoffs to them by a brutal fascist dictatorship, then it is OK for them to do so.

Robert G. Holt Atlanta

Honoring “Injustice, Inequality, and Indifference”

In April of 2004 I watched thousands of bones and skulls being washed and dried outside of a church in the Rwanda countryside. These bones were once some 4,000 people who sought refuge in a church but instead were locked inside and hacked to death over a matter of days. As the bones dried they were carefully laid inside of the church as a memorial and reminder that we must not forget that some 800,000 people were massacred. Our Commencement speaker, Kofi Annan, then head of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, and the rest of the world did nothing to prevent or stop this genocide. A year later another massacre occurred on his watch, this time in Srebrenica.

The University of Pennsylvania should be deeply ashamed and embarrassed that they have not only invited Mr. Annan to be a Commencement speaker but that they are honoring the secretary-general of the United Nations with an honorary doctor of laws. What message will Mr. Annan impart to our young graduates? “Go out into this world and do nothing. I did and I received a Nobel Prize.” Honoring this man with an honorary law degree says that a legal degree from the University of Pennsylvania stands for injustice, inequality, and indifference.

I cannot forget the genocide that occurred in Rwanda and neither should the University of Pennsylvania.

Evelyn Hockstein C’97 Silver Springs, MD

Mistaken Specialty for McIntosh

The article about Dr. Tracy McIntosh [“Gazetteer,” May/June] identifies him in the headline as a “Former Neurology Professor.” However, in the first sentence of the article Dr. McIntosh is described as a former professor of neurosurgery. Nowhere in the article is there any indication that Dr. McIntosh is a neurologist.

In the interest if accuracy, you should know that a neurologist is not a neurosurgeon, and a neurosurgeon is not a neurologist. It also surprised me that Dr. Arthur Asbury, one of your most distinguished professors of neurology, now emeritus, was not identified as such.

Stuart A. Schneck M’53 Greenwood Village, CO

Thomas Terrific

I knew a bit about early baseball at Penn from articles in SABR, and a friend of mine went to high school with Doug Glanville EAS’93 (If I had gone to Penn as an undergraduate, I would have chosen the same major and adviser as he did!), but Steve Eschenbach’s article on Roy Thomas W1894 [“Alumni Profiles,” May/June] blew me away.

I learned about Thomas first through a Classic Fantasy simulation game I play through ESPN (invented by Bill James when he was with STATS). As a statistical concept, he’s been a key player for two of my “teams.” His combination of great Range Factor and superior On Base Average works out very well in the large stadiums that my teams “play” in. Quite an anomaly compared to players of the more recent era who hit home runs in smaller parks and are (over?)valued for their power … 100 years later, people (in this case, me) still recognize Roy Thomas’ unique set of baseball skills.

It was indeed fascinating to understand that not only was Roy Thomas a real person who helped change the rules of baseball (in all fairness there were a lot of rule tweaks in the 1890s) but he went to the same B-school as I did. What a great article to include in your publication!

Doug Rubin WG’98 Princeton, NJ

A Christian is a Christian

In his recent Gazette essay, “Common Culture, Common Ground,” [“Expert Opinion,” March/April], Alan Wolfe managed to use the word conservative with reference to Christians and/or religious persons 11 times.

He also used evangelical[s], often interchangeably with conservative[s], eight times. And he put his liberal stripes on his sleeve with the use of gas guzzling with reference to SUVs. Were we pondering Wolfe’s pontifications a hundred or so years ago, I suppose we’d find him berating Clydesdales as “hay guzzlers.”

At any rate, Wolfe needs to know that there are no “conservative” Christians. Nor are there so-called “evangelical” Christians. The name needs no modifiers; a Christian is a Christian or he or she is not. Further, it’s up to each individual to determine whether or not he or she is a Christian, and the self-administered “Am I A Christian?” litmus test is disarmingly simple:

Step One: Read John 1:1-14

Step Two: Answer this question: Do you believe John 1:1-14?

Stu Mahlin WG’64 Cincinnati

Disappearing Plan

I must have missed something in the March/April Gazette, because the letters in the May/June issue regarding mixed-gender housing took me by surprise. When I was living in the Quad in the early 1980s, we had a co-ed floor, and the first thing the RA did was have all of us vote on whether to make the bathrooms co-ed or single-sex. Not surprisingly, we all voted for single-sex: None of us wanted a member of the opposite sex walking in on us in the shower.

We were constantly in each other’s rooms, and a few couples formed among my floormates, but we all wanted the bathroom to be a sanctum. Based on that experience, I’d be quite surprised if many students decided to take the University up on the opportunity to have an opposite-sex roommate. I fully expect that this plan will quietly disappear.

Stephanie Chernoff W’87 Simsbury, CT

Suggestions for a “More Readable and Useful Alumni Magazine”

Since graduating from Penn in 1953, my wife (Mae Eisenberg Kastor CW’53) and I have regularly fretted over the quality of our alumni magazine. With a new administration at our university, we hope that the Gazette can be improved. Here are some suggestions:

1. Publish a slimmer, less imposing Gazette: The recent issues of almost 100 pages are, frankly, daunting. We read few of the feature articles unless they have to do directly with Penn, and then, hope that they will be succinct. The nature of some of the “featured” articles makes me think that the editorial staff is trying more to achieve prestige among other editors than produce a magazine that will primarily appeal to alumni. Penn shouldn’t spend money trying to publish its version of The New Yorker or The Atlantic Monthly.

2. Publish the Gazette more frequently: Reaching our alumni more often should make them think more often about their alma mater. I suspect that thinner, more frequently produced Gazettes will appeal to our alumni more than the current less frequently produced and excessively hefty production. Princeton, as our new president knows, publishes its Princeton Alumni Weekly 16 times per year compared with Penn’s Gazette which comes out six times per year. Princeton’s alumni relations are particularly effective. I suspect that its frequently appearing and slimmer alumni magazine contributes to this.

3. Emphasize the alumni news and necrology sections: These are the sections that most alumni look at first, I suspect. I suggest limiting the notes to those alumni whose activities are not covered in other Penn alumni magazines such as those produced by the schools of medicine, law, nursing, etc. This approach should help consolidate and emphasize undergraduate alumni spirit and provide more space for their activities while not ignoring the graduates of the professional schools whose activities are covered elsewhere.

How about establishing alumni correspondents who will collect and organize the notes from their classmates and write informal alumni comments as several alumni magazines of other selective colleges and universities do?

4. Make the print larger; reduce the graphics: The current print size discourages reading. (I don’t think this reflects any ophthalmologic problem of this senior alumnus.) Also, the magazine should reduce the amount of graphics which, at least to my eye, often distract from the printed material.

Just a few thoughts from a long-time alumnus and former member of the medical-school faculty who would like to receive a more readable and useful alumni magazine.

John A. Kastor C’53 Baltimore

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