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image: Class Notes headlineBetween the Lines
Chicago alumni are always in the news or writing it-although they are not always identified by their class year and degree. Here are some recent sightings.

1918 "Millions of people owe their lives to Fred Soper," declared the July 2 New Yorker, "Why isn't he a hero?" Fred L. Soper, MD'18, who earned a doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University, spent most of his career working for the Rockefeller Foundation, tackling global disease, including malaria. Soper (who died in 1977) fought malaria by fighting its carrier, the mosquito, with diesel oil, arsenic, pyrethrum, and, in the 1940s, DDT. At first DDT appeared to be the answer, saving some 10 million lives in the 1940s and 1950s, but global eradication proved an elusive dream. By the early 1960s strains of DDT-resistant mosquitoes had begun to flourish, the environmental consequences of DDT were becoming apparent, and in 1969 the World Health Organization officially gave up on global eradication as a goal. "Fred Soper," noted writer Malcolm Gladwell, "ran up against the great moral of the late twentieth century-that even the best-intentioned efforts have perverse consequences, that benefits are inevitably offset by risks."

1958 In "The Price of Oil," an article in the July 9 New Yorker, investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh, AB'58, used working papers and other in-house documents to detail Mobil Corporation's internal investigation, begun in mid-1997, into allegations that a senior executive may have violated U.S. sanctions through involvement in an oil swap between Iran and Kazakhstan. Hersh, who won a 1970 Pulitzer Prize for his reportage on Vietnam's My Lai massacre, noted that the Mobil records offer an "unparalleled view of a major American oil company's dealings in the former Soviet Union."

1989 When National Public Radio's Morning Edition sent reporter Madeleine Brand to find out how U.S. taxpayers planned to spend their forthcoming tax rebates, most of the people Brand interviewed said they planned to put the money in the bank. But in the same July 23 segment Diane Swonk, MBA'89, chief economist with Bank One, saw things differently: "People know how to answer these kinds of surveys, right, so that they don't look like they're stupid. But the reality is that it's very hard to bet against consumers with money in their pockets to burn not spending it, and money that falls from the heavens and lands in front of them is money that's very likely to be spent." Swonk predicted that about two-thirds of the money given back to taxpayers would go back into the economy.

1993 Writing in the July 13 Chronicle of Higher Education, Jean M. Twenge, AB'93, AM'93, argued that "[a]nxiety in college students has reached record levels." In a study reported in the December 2000 Journal of Personality and Society Psychology, Twenge found that "anxiety that would have put a student in the top 16 percent in the 1950s made a student merely average in the ratings for anxiety in the 1990s." Citing rising expectations about careers, relationships, and appearance as possible causes for the rise, Twenge, an assistant professor of psychology at San Diego State University, suggested that organizing undergraduates by "houses" can help: "I lived in a dormitory organized that way at the University of Chicago, and the friends I made in my house supported me throughout my college years; several remain my friends today, 10 years and four long-distance moves later."



  OCTOBER 2001

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