PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY “Thirteen Visionaries”, Sol Gittleman’s excellent article about Tufts’ presidents, widened my perspective on the university’s life beyond my experiences during the Wessell years. Who knew that while Tufts was “on the threshold of greatness,” it was also in financial difficulty?
When I returned to Tufts recently, after years of absence, I was amazed at the progress I saw. The information Sol provided on the presidencies of Jean Mayer and his successors gave me an understanding of how that progress occurred.
I cut out and saved the excellent report on all the Tufts presidents. For those of us who date back a ways, it pulls together what we recall only in bits and pieces.
Over the years, I have read many articles by Sol Gittleman, but the one on the presidents of Tufts is absolutely the best. I have also received emails from other Tufts grads expressing their delight with the article. What a winner!
I enjoyed strolling down memory lane with Kristin Livingston’s article on TUTV (“The Jumbo Channel”). I especially enjoyed the reference to an episode of Trivia Triangle where, in the words of Mark Mastromatteo, A80, “a team of Medford High brains gave our fun-loving Jumbos quite a beating.” I was a member of that “team of Medford High brains,” and believe me, nobody was more surprised at the outcome than we were.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH? I read President Monaco’s essay “Free Speech Is Good Speech” with mild bewilderment. He states, “Since its founding in 1852, Tufts has embraced a campus culture that encourages the free and unfettered exchange of ideas.” Perhaps he is unaware of the “free speech zones” created in 1989 by the acting dean of students at the time, Bruce Reitman. Chalk lines were drawn all over campus to establish these zones, within which free speech was allowed. Outside of them, you had to be careful. I recall the surreal feeling of being suddenly transported into the Soviet Union, fearful of punishment for merely expressing my views. I recall the stunned looks on my parents’ faces when I told them about the new rules governing speech on campus.
Perhaps President Monaco is equally unaware that in 2000, Melvin Bernstein, then vice president for arts, sciences, and engineering, published a pamphlet, “Confronting Intolerance,” wherein students learned that speech deemed offensive could be stopped—in other words, censored.
ARCHITECTURE THAT RETURNS YOUR GAZE
I thoroughly enjoyed “House of Mirth,” by Ann Sussman, F86, and Justin B. Hollander, A96. I, too, am often captivated by buildings that resemble faces. I am reminded of the work of the children’s illustrator and writer Bill Peet. Almost all of his houses, barns, and inanimate objects take on the “visual primitive” look that Sussman and Hollander describe. No wonder his books are so popular with the younger set, and with the adults who read to the younger set.
NOTICING A DIFFERENCE
I just read the most recent Tufts Magazine, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Thank you for your vision and foresight in reaching out to the alumni community and using their feedback to create this wonderful publication. I normally just flip through to see who got married and who published what, but this time I found myself wanting to read every article. Also, the design is fantastic, and as a new entrepreneur I especially love the Brilliant! section, since it highlights other Jumbos on that journey.
I have been receiving Tufts Magazine for many years, and I never really read it aside from looking to see if anything had happened to someone in my class.
Then the Winter 2015 issue landed on my doorstep on the first day of spring, during a “crippling” two inches of snow in the Washington, D.C., area, and I realized that the magazine was somehow different from what I remembered. So many articles caught my attention. I read and enjoyed and learned from more than half. Whatever you’ve done, I like it.
CORRECTION (AND CONGRATULATIONS) Our obituary for Karen M. Nicholls, a 1958 graduate of the Bouvé-Boston School of Physical Education (“In Memoriam,” Winter 2015), mistakenly claimed that her husband had predeceased her. Our apologies to William B. Nicholls, who informed us of the error in a note signed “The Husband.” —Editor