Fifty Years in Public Causes
Stories from a Road Less Traveled
Brian O’Connell, A53
Fifty years ago, Brian O’Connell quit graduate school for a job in the nonprofit sector. Since then, the role of nonprofits in public service has gained importance due in great part to his groundbreaking work. The founder and a professor of the University College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts, O’Connell shares stories about his experiences in his new memoir, Fifty Years in Public Causes: Stories from a Road Less Traveled. In his account is valuable advice, including information that civic leaders and their staff should know to achieve “maximum citizen participation.” Here he discusses the most important lesson that he’s learned.
“The top lesson I’ve learned from 50 years in public causes is that the most important role of the leader is to keep the dream alive.
“Volunteer and staff leaders tend to become so preoccupied with urgent tasks and with obstacles that stand in the way of advancing the crucial mission and goals of the enterprise that we forget or neglect how absolutely essential it is to tend to morale and enthusiasm.
“People who get involved with public causes open themselves to frustration and disappointment, but through it all and after it all, those moments of making change happen for the better are among our lasting joys. There’s something wonderfully fulfilling in being part of an effort that makes a difference, and there’s something grandly rewarding in being among other people when they’re at their best, too.
“The problems of contemporary society are more complex, the solutions more involved, and the satisfactions more obscure, but the basic ingredients of effective public service are still the caring and the resolve to make things better.
“In the course of these efforts there is at work a silent cycle of cause and effect that I call the ‘genius of fulfillment,’ that is, the harder people work for the benefit of others and for the fulfillment of important social goals, the more fulfilled they are themselves. Confucius expressed it by saying, ‘Goodness is God,’ meaning that the more good we do, the happier we are, and the totality of it all is a supreme state of being. Thus, he said, God is not only a Supreme Being apart from us, but a supreme state of being within us.
“A simpler way of looking at the meaning of service is a quotation from an epitaph:
What I spent is gone
What I kept is lost
But what I gave to charity
Will be mine forever.
“How we express the meaning of public service doesn’t really matter. It can be charity or enlightened self-interest or simply humanity to other people. These are all ways of describing why we serve, why service provides some of our happiest moments, and why the good that we do lives after us. Keep the dream alive.”
Ellison the Elephant
Eric Drachman, A88
James Muscarello, illustrator
In Eric Drachman’s latest picture book, Ellison the Elephant, the self-conscious protagonist is aghast when he discovers that his trumpet blast is different from those of his elephant friends. When he starts to withdraw, his mom explains that being different is not such a bad thing. “All the greatest elephants in history were unusual!” she says. With the encouragement of his mother and his wisecracking imaginary friend Weasel, and through practice and determination, Ellison finds his own voice. Soon, pachyderms from miles around are swaying to the magic of Ellison’s trumpet and its extraordinary new sound. This musical celebration is brought to life on an enclosed CD with dramatic readings, sound effects, and the jazzy notes of Giovanna Imbesi.
Rafaelito V. Sy, A89
Rafaelito V. Sy’s first novel opens in Manila, the Philippines, where a young Juancho Chu is living vicariously through reruns of U.S. television sitcoms and dreaming of a life in the less oppressive land of America. Making his way to San Francisco, he establishes a life for himself, ironically, selling tours to “exotic” locales like the Philippines. In time he meets Gerald. They seem perfect for each other, but complications along the way create many questions. Will Juancho and Gerald remain “just friends”? Will Juancho secure the U.S. citizenship he has always dreamed of?
To Be a Playwright
Janet Neipris, J57
Theatre Arts Books
Janet Neipris, chair of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program and mentor to such theatre figures as Neil LaBute, Kenneth Lonergan, Doug Wright, and George Wolfe, distills a career’s worth of wisdom, advice, and encouragement in these collected lectures and essays for both playwriting students and practicing playwrights. With succinct and practical instruction, she lays out the questions (and answers) that face every dramatic writer. Chapters like “Fifty Questions to Ask About Your Play” illuminate the concrete work of writing dialogue, plot, scene, and act.
Place, Myth, and Memory
Dane Anthony Morrison, G83, and Nancy Lusignan Schultz, editors
Northeastern University Press
How is a sense of place created, imagined, and reinterpreted over time? That question is addressed in this comprehensive look at the 400-year history of Salem, Massachusetts, a place mythologized in the public imagination by the infamous witch trials and executions of 1692 and 1693. But from its settlement in 1626 to the present, Salem was, and is, much more. Editors Dane Anthony Morrison and Nancy Lusignan Schultz, professors at Salem State College, have assembled contributions from a variety of fields that examine Salem’s multiple urban identities: frontier outpost of European civilization, cosmopolitan seaport, gateway to the Far East, refuge for religious diversity, center for education, and, of course, tourist attraction.
Unveiling the Prophet
The Misadventures of a Reluctant Debutante
Lucy Ferriss, G93, G95
University of Missouri Press
In the summer of 1972, Lucy Ferriss was preparing to attend the Veiled Prophet Ball at which she was to be presented to St. Louis society. Once the largest cotillion in the country, the invitation-only event, put on by an exclusively white male Christian membership, attracted the ire of ACTION, a militant civil rights group. ACTION asked those about to make their debut to join the protest, and what transpired that night forever changed cultural politics in St. Louis. Ferriss, writer-in-residence at Trinity College in Connecticut, recounts the event in a memoir that blends regional, national, and personal history in a fast-paced narrative. She tells the dramatic and funny story of attending the exclusive ball and her return to St. Louis 30 years later to track down some of ACTION’s principal players as well as key figures in the Veiled Prophet Society.
A Doctor’s Journey with His Patient’s Illness
Dr. Isaac A. Bartley, M82
In Beyond Fear, Dr. Isaac A. Bartley writes about his personal experience treating young patients who, unlike their geriatric counterparts, are usually healthy until the diagnosis is made. Immediately, they are hurled into the complex world of medical jargon, a variety of procedures, and invasive tests they know very little or nothing about. Regardless of how devastating the diagnosis, the battle to survive must be fought. Some individuals fare better than others; some quickly learn how to take matters in stride. This physician shows the importance of the patient’s perception of the illness and the support provided by family and friends.
Just a Little Too Thin
How to Pull Your Child Back from the Brink of an Eating Disorder
Michael A. Strober and Meg Schneider, J75
Da Capo Press
This invaluable parenting guide provides help in understanding the slippery slope that leads to eating disorders and how to steer a child back to both physical and emotional health. The work outlines the findings of Strober’s respected research on the stages of eating disorders and offers expert guidance on how to talk about weight and eating in ways that won’t alienate the child. It also provides parents with the tools to help them cope with the emotional issues that are feeding their child’s obsession with weight in a world of unprecedented pressure and unrealistic images.
How to Choose a Good Doctor
Dr. George D. LeMaitre, M59
When George LeMaitre was a young man, he often accompanied his physician father on house calls. From these firsthand experiences, he learned that there is more to practicing medicine than scheduling office visits and dispensing pills—disease is best understood and treated when the physician really knows the patient. LeMaitre tells his readers what to look for in choosing a doctor: what’s important, as well as what to ignore, including what separates the excellent from the mediocre physician; how reliable credentials and reputation are; what a good doctor should include in a physical examination; when you should seek a second opinion; and how you can determine if surgery is really necessary.
The Dark Side of Strategic Alliances
Wilma W. Suen, F98, F02
In this volume Wilma W. Suen, a consultant to the technology and airline industries, explores the many facets of strategic alliances or shared strategy among competitors. Through a number of case studies, she focuses on how the success of an alliance must be considered from the perspective of the individual firms that comprise it. Among the important contributions of this book are defining a framework for measuring power and interdependence.
Structuring Islamic Finance Transactions
Abdulkader Thomas, F81, Stella Cox, and Bryan Kraty
Euromoney Institutional Investor
Structuring Islamic Finance Transactions opens with an analysis of the Sharia’a, Islamic faith-based reasons for why Islamic financial methods must be distinct from traditional banking and finance. Abdulkader Thomas, president and CEO of SHAPEtm Financial Corp., and the co-author of Islamic Bonds: Your Guide to Issuing, Structuring and Investing in Sukuk, along with Stella Cox and Bryan Kraty, analyzes an array of case studies that range from corporate finance for Emirates Airlines and structured lease finance for Hanco of Saudi Arabia to residential mortgage alternatives in the U.S. market that apply lease structures, syndicated sales and supply in the global telecom sector, and other applications of Islamic methods in the global financial markets. A must-read for those engaged in Islamic finance and banking.
The Tao of Statistics
A Path to Understanding (With No Math)
Dana Keller, A74
SAGE Publications Inc.
Statistician Dana Keller provides a new approach to statistics in plain English. Unlike other introductions to statistics, this text explains what statistics mean and how they are used, rather than how to calculate them. The book walks readers through basic concepts as well as some of the most complex statistical models in use, including explaining basic statistics in an accessible fashion without emphasizing computation. Each concept is presented via impressions from a verse, an illustration, and 300 to 900 words of text.
What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools—And Why It Isn’t So
Jay P. Greene, A88, with Greg Forster and Marcus A. Winters
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
In Education Myths, Jay P. Greene, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Education Research Office, takes on conventional wisdom and closely examines 20 myths advanced by many of the special interest groups currently dominating public education. In addition to the money myth, the class size myth, and the teacher pay myth, Greene exposes the special-education myth (special-ed programs burden public schools), the certification myth (certified or more experienced teachers are more effective in the classroom), the graduation myth (nearly all students graduate from high school), the draining myth (choice harms public schools), the segregation myth (private schools are more racially segregated), and a dozen more.
Everything the Instructors Never Told You about Mogul Skiing
Dan DiPiro, A87
Journalist and competitive bump skier Dan DiPiro reveals the special techniques that experienced skiers use to negotiate big bumps and deep troughs on steep slopes. He explains, among other things, how bump skiers use an exceptionally upright “home posture,” how they control speed by actively absorbing bumps and extending their legs into troughs, and how they employ special line-choice methods to chart straight courses through difficult, irregular moguls. Meant to equip skiers with the special methods they need to become good bump specialists and all-mountain experts as well as a useful tune-up guide.
The Hand of the Past in Contemporary Southern Politics
James M. Glaser
Yale University Press
A central story of contemporary southern politics is the emergence of Republican majorities in the region’s congressional delegation. Acknowledging the significance and scope of the political change, James M. Glaser, dean of undergraduate studies, argues that strands of continuity also affect the practice of campaign politics in important ways. Strong southern tradition underlies the strategies pursued by the candidates, their presentational styles, and the psychology of their campaigns. Glaser offers eyewitness accounts of recent congressional campaigns in Texas, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In the tradition of his award-winning book, Race, Campaign Politics, and the Realignment in the South, Glaser captures the “stuff” of politics—the characters, the images, the rhetoric, and the scenery.
Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice
Popularized in the movies Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action, “environmental justice” refers to any local response to a threat against community health. Julian Agyeman, assistant professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, argues that environmental justice and the sustainable communities movement are compatible in practical ways. Yet sustainability, which focuses on meeting our needs today while not compromising the ability of our successors to meet their needs in the future, has not always partnered with the challenges of environmental justice. The book explores the ideological differences between these two and shows how they can work together. Sustainable Communities is vital to the efforts of community organizers, policymakers, and everyone interested in a better environment and community health.
Community Research in Environmental Health
Doug Brugge and H. Patricia Hynes, editors
Interest in environmental health research conducted with community participation has increased dramatically in recent years. In this book, Doug Brugge, associate professor of family medicine and community health at the Medical School, and H. Patricia Hynes relate the experiences of community collaborations across the United States and highlight the lessons to be learned for those involved in or embarking on community-collaborative research. The volume brings together a variety of cases, examining the nature and form that the collaboration took, the scientific findings from the work, and the ethical issues that needed to be addressed. Among the actual cases covered are lead contaminated soil, asthma and housing conditions, the impact of development on environmental health, the impact of radiation hazards, urban gardening, hog farming, and diesel exhaust.