2000 (print version)
Chicago Magazine invites letters
on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters must
be signed and may be edited for length or clarity. Preference is given
to letters of 500 words or less.
Editor, University of Chicago Magazine, 1313 E. 60th Street, Chicago,
kind of letter
me compliment you on the high quality, imaginativeness, and seriousness
represented by the December/99 issue of the University of Chicago
especially enjoyed finding out that Marian and Leon Despres are still
going strong (“Coming of Age”), since I knew them many years ago when
I was associated with the University in the 1970s.
next time someone sends me a fund-raising letter from the U of C, I
will be happy to make a contribution.
board nominees sought
you know some alumni who could make a difference? The Alumni Association
is seeking new members for its Board of Governors, a 25-member group
that sets policy for the Alumni Association and advises the University
on matters of concern to alumni. At the Board’s April meeting, new members
will be elected for three-year terms beginning July 1, 2000.
members are chosen from the whole alumni body on the basis of past service
to the University. To ensure that the Board is as fully representative
of the alumni population as possible, the Nominating Committee also
weighs demographic factors, such as age, gender, race, location, and
you would like to propose someone for Board membership, please send
us one or two paragraphs describing your nominee, summarizing his/her
involvement with the University, and indicating why this person would
be a strong addition to the Board. The deadline for nominations is March
nominations to: Nominating Committee, U of C Alumni Association, 1313
E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637; fax: 773/702-2166; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
welcome your help in identifying candidates for leadership of the Alumni
Hanauer Ravich, AB’70
Chair, Board of Governors
Nominating and Membership Committee
this Chicago or what? Robert Mundell, 1999 Nobel Prize winner in economics,
was Chicago’s 71st, Chicago economics’ 19th, and the third and final
supervisor of my dissertation committee to win the prize (“For the Record,”
December/99). Milton Friedman, AM’33 (1976), suggested my dissertation
topic title, “Peel’s Act, Deposits, and the Currency--Banking School
Controversy,” after reading Frank W. Fetter’s book, The Development
of British Monetary Orthodoxy, 1797–1875. He then handed me over
to George Stigler, PhD’38 (1982), who was the history of thought professor
at the time. Robert Mundell (1999) came to my thesis seminar, showed
some interest in the topic, and got drafted to my committee.
there been another dissertation committee of at least three, composed
of all Nobel Prize winners (economics or any other subject)? Could this
anomaly only happen at Chicago?
K. Adie, PhD’68
MAB got U2 to U of C
December issue’s notice regarding MAB (“Major Activities Board lures
MTV to campus”) brought back a few pleasant memories. In the article,
MAB president Kelly Snow lamented current budget constraints, venturing,
“Way back in the day, we had U2. Now it’s ten, 15 times our budget.”
was fortunate enough to be a member of MAB “back in the day” (circa
1981), when we indeed did bring U2 to campus for a concert. Our ability
to do so was a matter of timing.
agency handling the then-unknown group was eager to book the show--money
was not the issue; they were primarily looking to build a fan-base.
In contrast, the board members’ major concern, as we sat and listened
to our promotional copy of the band’s first album, was whether such
“unusual” music would be right for a U of C crowd.
held the show in the International House auditorium, and the $1 admission
fee entitled attendees to all the beer (Augsberger, as I recall) they
could drink. At the end of the evening we paid the band in cash...the
princely sum of $1,500, virtually all of it in $1 bills.
still have that promotional album, signed by all the band members before
they departed Hyde Park for rock’s pantheon.
Paul Sandberg, MBA’82, JD’82
Jenny Adams’s article, “Positively Medieval” (December/99), I find it
strange that Adams describes Fulton as seeming to assert that “Before
that time [the turn of the first millennium], pious Christians prayed
to Christ as the all-powerful King of Heaven rather than as the man
who died a humiliating death.” My understanding of the early Christians
was their joy in proclaiming the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
quote from Raymond E. Brown’s The Birth of the Messiah (1977):
“The oldest Christian preaching about Jesus concerned the death and
resurrection, as may be seen in the formulas of Acts 2:23, 32; 3:14–15;
4:10; 10:39–40; and I Cor 15:3–4. Not only did these events constitute
the clearest instance of God’s salvific action in Jesus, but also it
was through them that the disciples came to a more adequate understanding
of who Jesus really was.”
E. Fasan, AB’47, JD’57
Chapel Hill, North
Magazine might be misrepresenting the excellence of the University
by reproducing a fine Trecento painting in the Smart Museum of Art accompanied
by an outdated attribution and a typographical error (“Positively Medieval”).
Those interdisciplinary efforts on which the article focused should
also extend to the staff of the alumni publication, especially since
they are able to call upon the distinguished art history faculty on
“Ugolino Lorenzetti” to whom the painting is attributed never existed;
the name was a fiction invented long ago by Bernard Berenson to describe
an anonymous artist now generally known as the Ovile Master, after a
painting in San Pietro Ovile in Siena. This much can be obtained from
the Kress catalog of Italian paintings where this gift to the University
is listed. If your readers were confused by the date of “ca. 1530” in
an article of a medieval subject, it was obviously transposed from 1350,
the correct date according to the catalog.
S. Howett, AM’62, PhD’68
Howett, who is professor emeritus of art history at Emory University,
is correct about the date: we inadvertently transposed two numbers in
the date of the 14th-century Italian work. As to the attribution given
the piece, while an entry in the Smart Museum catalog chronicles the
still-continuing scholarly debate regarding the artist’s identity, the
Smart Museum attributes it to Lorenzetti, and we followed suit. --Ed.
on wandering wombs
is of interest that the Hippocratic Corpus describes the wandering womb
syndrome (“Coursework,” December/99) in the Parthenoi (“Illness of Maidens”),
stating that its cure is early marriage followed by childbirth. Plato,
in the Timaeus, also describes the womb as straying about the body until
the woman gives birth to a child.
is, however, not clear how the Greeks of the fifth century B.C.E. reconciled
the view that the uterus could move through the body with their knowledge
of the anatomy of the human uterus that is evidenced, for example, by
votive offerings at various healing temples.
M. Katz, AB’52
year my son Ben is happily enrolled in his first year as an undergraduate
at the University of Chicago, which provides me with the new and pleasant
experience of being an alumni parent for the first time. To the enormous
surprise and delight of our family, Ben not only happens to be in the
same dorm that I was in for my freshman year at the U of C, but in the
very same room I was in. As far as we know, this is entirely a coincidence,
since Ben did not even request that dorm.
the announcement of Ben’s room assignment arrived this August, I let
out a howl of laughter. To go there in person with him on entering day
in September was even more powerful. It was the first time I had set
foot in Woodward Court in about 30 years. And there was my boy, standing
on the same floor I stood on, hanging his towel on the same towel bar,
clothes in the same closet, posters on the same cinder block walls,
looking out the same window at Robie House across the street.
must say, it gives new meaning to the phrase “déjà vu”! And it certainly
made it easier for me to let my little (6 foot) chickie leave the nest,
knowing that he is in the same place that I once called mine. It is
a kick! I thought U of C friends and fellow alums would enjoy learning
about this. I think it is a wonderful thing the housing office did,
and I recommend it to other families. I don’t think it diminishes in
any way my son’s chance to make his college experience his own, it just
gives it some contextual history and an added dimension. Cheers to the
crime has dropped
October/99 issue presented the rather interesting thesis of University
of Chicago economics professor Steve Levitt (“Chicago Journal”), which
was summarized as follows: “[A]s much as half of the U.S. crime drop
in the 1990s can be explained by the legalization and high frequency
of abortion in the 1970s, which prevented the birth of many potential
disagree with Mr. Levitt, and reason that the relatively high employment
rate of the 1990s provides more secure and immediate income than crime,
and in effect, motivates many to seek an honest means of earning a livelihood.
As for abortions, I am inclined to argue that abortions in the 1970s
had little effect on crime, but instead diminished the educational talent
and pool of applicants to universities.
Mark Katz, AB’84
wish to thank the University of Chicago Alumni Association for the splendid
University decal that came with the October/99 issue [included with
the Alumni Gateway]. It worked well on my 1960 Fiat 600. The decal seems
to complete the statement [“RADIOACTIVE HEAP”] that existed previously.
The Fiat is of Italian extraction, somewhat like Fermi.
G. Bowman, MAT’63