Letters – On Wisconsin https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Thu, 27 Jun 2019 17:02:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 Old Buildings Evoke Nostalgia https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/old-buildings-evoke-nostalgia/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/old-buildings-evoke-nostalgia/#respond Tue, 26 May 2015 16:42:07 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=14081 Image-for-Letters-page

James Mathee sent this photo of the Madison capitol taken by his grandfather, William Mathee, sometime between 1915 and 1917.

Thanks for the memories! [“Old School,” Spring 2015 On Wisconsin]. The grace and charm of old buildings cannot be replaced. It is sad, but change is inevitable.

Kristy Arthur

“Old School” brought back many memories of my time in Madison, both as a child growing up and as a university student. I attended Wisconsin High for three years before it closed in 1964 (not 1962, as you stated). I know this because it was my father, Lindley Stiles, who closed it. He was the dean of education at the time and felt the school had outlived its purpose. To say there was a lot of descending on our house over this is an understatement. There was even picketing on Bascom Hill, which I was not allowed to attend.

Trish [Patricia] Stiles Good ’71 Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

I read with a great deal of interest Jenny Price’s piece “Old School.” I am a 1990 graduate and often visit our daughter, who is a junior at UW–Madison. It is fascinating [to see] the changes that have taken place in a mere twenty-five years. My grandfather, William Mathee, attended the UW between 1915 and 1917. Photography was a hobby of his, and he passed on a couple of photo albums with some really interesting shots of Madison and the UW campus. [One of them was this] beautiful shot of the capitol building at night (above).

James Mathee ’90 Cedarburg, Wisconsin

I read the piece on UW buildings long gone and wanted to provide another perspective on Union South. I worked at Union South when it first opened — at the info desk and later in the games room.

The physical building may have been less than “warm,” but a lot of fun was had there. It was the first location of the Kentucky Fried Theater; the Red Oak Grill had great steak sandwiches; and lots of great pool and bowling went on. The lounge had a really cool jukebox. I heard some of the best ’70s music in that lounge. So the building might have been cold, but it hosted many hot days and nights.

Pam Butler ’73 Chicago

Your article “Old School” did indeed evoke memories here, as well as tears of joy. At ages seven to nine, in the 1930s, my friend Sue and I explored the shore of Lake Mendota from the back of the Phi Gamma Delta house to the willows, with stopoffs on the hill. We looked for mud puppies and unusual stones, and when that proved boring, we climbed the hill and peeked in the doors of Music Hall, the zoology building, and Bascom Hall, and went up the ski jump. We saw the Union Theater being built and got thrown out of the boathouse. “What are you two doing here?” and, “Do your folks know where you are?” followed us everywhere. What fun! I lost track of Sue as we grew older, but I will never forget her and the times we spent together.

Dolores Simms Greene ’51 Gainesville, Florida

Ugh — those old quonset hut classrooms, with their pre-AC “polar” hot/cold temperatures! Your photo gallery brings back many memories.

Mary Daniel

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We’re Em-bear-assed https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/were-em-bear-assed/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/were-em-bear-assed/#respond Tue, 26 May 2015 16:39:51 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=14086 I very much enjoyed the piece on Phil Rosenthal [“Staying Power,” Fall 2015]. In particular, I cheered the fact that “…after more than thirty years in the newspaper business,” he had covered grizzly crime scenes and survived. Those bears are very dangerous!

Lona Morris Jupiter ’56 San Francisco, California

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The Best Class I Ever Took https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/the-best-class-i-ever-took/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/the-best-class-i-ever-took/#respond Tue, 26 May 2015 16:37:53 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=14089 [“The Warlord’s Biographer,” Spring 2015], was an excellent article! Brian [Glyn] Williams was my teacher back in Madison (1998, I think) for a Central Asian Studies class, and it was the best class I ever took. Your article definitely took me back. He’s an incredible teacher, and it’s great to see that he’s out in the field pursuing more knowledge in a part of the world that Americans still know so little about.

Sam Pearce

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Bascom Hill Cemetery https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/bascom-hill-cemetery/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/bascom-hill-cemetery/#respond Tue, 26 May 2015 16:36:55 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=14092 [In regard to the Spring 2015 Traditions, “Displays on Bascom Hill”]: In 1968, at the height of the war in Vietnam, students awoke one morning to find Bascom Hill covered with crosses painted white (just like the crosses in the cemetery at Omaha Beach in France) and a sign that said only, “Class of 1968.” This image and memory have stayed with me all these years.

Elinor Sosne MA’69, PhD’74 Arlington, Virginia

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A Historic Visit https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/a-historic-visit/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/a-historic-visit/#respond Tue, 26 May 2015 16:35:17 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=14094 [In regard to Flashback in the Spring 2015 issue]: When I was an eleven-year-old, my mother, Etta Wittchow Barfknecht ’31, brought me to Madison to see and hear one of the great world leaders [Jawaharlal Nehru]. Thank you for reminding me of that day.

Charles Barfknecht ’60 Iowa City, Iowa

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The 1960s, Revisited https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/the-1960s-revisited/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/the-1960s-revisited/#respond Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:03:51 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=13604 The Bob Dylan photo in “It Was a Very Good Year” [Winter 2014] reminded me that about three years earlier, the folksinger was in Madison for about a week. On his way from his Minnesota home to New York City, he hung out at a coffeehouse on State Street.

Frankly, he was terrible, still learning his craft, and played for tips, which he seldom received. Flusher students who pitied him would have a coffee and donut sent over to him. I couldn’t believe it when I saw his first album in a record store a few years later. His return to play at the Union Theater must have been personally satisfying.

Chuck Kleinhans ’64
Eugene, Oregon

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Hurray for the Humanities https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/hurray-for-the-humanities/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/hurray-for-the-humanities/#respond Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:03:51 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=13606 [In regard to “Humanities for the Real World,” Winter 2014]: I have two degrees from UW–Madison: an undergraduate degree in the humanities and a master’s in business. I learned how to operate a business by managing one, not in class. I was able to do so because I knew how to analyze situations from multiple perspectives, understand human nature, and think creatively.

My son has two degrees from UW–Madison also: an undergrad degree in philosophy and a JD. He is a highly respected attorney because he has excellent critical thinking skills and understands how to deal with thorny situations and difficult people.

We must stop viewing higher education as workforce development. That focus turns human beings into a commodity that will be replaced by robotics and artificial intelligence as soon as possible. We are much more than that, and much better than that.

Susan Fiore ’81, MA’89
Verona, Wisconsin

I use my humanities degree on a daily basis. I was a dual major in history and Spanish, and now, as a nonprofit attorney advocating for low-income immigrants, I put those majors to use every day. The Spanish major has obvious applications, but the history major I value so much, because it allows me to place all the current events relating to immigration in context.

Kate Woomer-Deters ’02
Raleigh, North Carolina

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More Thoughts on Democracy https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/more-thoughts-on-democracy/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/more-thoughts-on-democracy/#respond Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:03:51 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=13608 It is very disappointing to read a letter from a UW grad who tries to define the United States as either a democracy or a republic [“Can This Democracy Be Saved?” Fall 2014]. In reality, the nation is a democratic republic, meaning representatives are chosen directly by the populace.

Geoffrey Wodell ’71
Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Thank you for “Can This Democracy Be Saved?” My spouse, Cooper Rosin ’10, and I are spending the year at a remote research station inside Gabon’s Ivindo National Park in the Congo Basin. We look forward to connecting with the world through the issues of On Wisconsin that my mother-in-law, Anne Rosin MS’87, MD’93, mails us. Cooper and I submitted our absentee ballots for November’s election, and it was validating to read Professor Barry Burden’s affirmation that absentee votes are always counted, whether the election is a runaway victory or closely contested.

Rachel Nordberg Rosin ’07
Makokou, Gabon

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The High Cost of College https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/the-high-cost-of-college/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/the-high-cost-of-college/#respond Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:03:51 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=13602 The Price is Right” [Winter 2014 On Wisconsin] stated that earlier students could work summers and cover the entire cost of their school. I attended the university in the mid-fifties and was able to do just that. I was fortunate to get a job in a local canning factory during the summers. These earnings, along with an occasional gig as a bartender, covered the entire cost for my time at the university. Unless you have a summer job as a mutual fund manager, the days of being able to work summers and pay for college are long gone.

Dayle Winnie ’58
San Antonio, Texas

The series on college tuition in the Winter 2014 issue never asked why the cost of college tuition has increased so much for students and their families. With Wisconsin’s consistently declining investment in public higher education, the state is failing in its moral responsibility to support affordable education and opportunities for its citizens to prosper, abdicating the responsibility to overly burdened middle-class families.

Why has the state’s investment declined? The state has not held its corporate partners responsible for their part of the public education equation; corporations that directly profit from the Wisconsin Idea and students’ education, creative ideas, and labor do not in turn reinvest in public education. There is no doubt my education and career researching a cure for diabetes would not have been possible without the investment by the state’s taxpayers. Let’s therefore hold our elected officials responsible to make sure that all who profit from an educated citizenry reinvest in future generations.

Kirstie Danielson ’96, PhD’07

The Price Is Right” states that it is a “myth” that students cannot afford to attend UW–Madison. The facts are the following:

A student with no expected family contribution is left to borrow or come up with $13,794 per year to attend Madison. That’s after all grants and scholarships are applied. After doing work-study and agreeing to borrow $7,500 or more per year (for a total debt of at least $30,000 for the degree — likely more), that student still must contribute almost $4,000 a year. This means that people from the poorest families must borrow to the max and work in order to afford Madison. Is that “affordable,” and does it meet with alumni expectations?

Low-income students already live quite frugally at Madison, as the Working Class Student Union members demonstrate. They are already using food stamps, shopping at secondhand stores, forgoing books and other supplies, and missing class due to work. Even so, we have students facing food and housing insecurity.

At the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, we’re striving to help colleges and universities find the real “right” price to ensure that higher education levels inequality, rather than serving to simply reproduce it. See wihopelab.com.

Sara Goldrick-Rab

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Correcting Corrections https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/correcting-corrections/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/letters/correcting-corrections/#respond Tue, 04 Nov 2014 20:45:20 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=13083 I work for the [Pennsylvania Department of Corrections] and I applaud this work [“Fulsome Prison Blues,” Fall 2014]. Great, great job. We do need reform in the criminal justice system. We need to stop privatization of prison systems and various services in prisons. Trading stock and lobbying based on people who are incarcerated is outrageous. Please run more articles on reforming the field of corrections.

Tina Bloom

I just moved to Philadelphia to start my residency in pediatrics. My training is split between Einstein Medical Center and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, both in North Philadelphia flanking Sixth Street. Living in Center City, I drive or take the subway through the neighborhood that Alice Goffman studied, and I take care of children from exactly this neighborhood. We know about the challenges these families face daily, from food insecurity to incarcerated parents, and I am glad that this issue is being made more common knowledge. Hopefully the support needed comes next.

Dan Beardmore ’09


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