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...why not boast about Leopold and Loeb?

The introduction to Amy Braverman’s article (“War Stories,” October/04) makes me wonder once more how my university, respected for its intellectual creativity and seriousness, has also produced so many hard-right conservatives. I am especially disturbed by those who have been making decisions that kill soldiers and civilians, destroy our relations with other countries, and put an end to our constitutional rights.
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photo:  0410 coverWAR COVERAGE
War Stories” was an interesting read. But I would add an additional note, from the point of view of a combat reporter who just returned from a second Iraq deployment (and eighth war-zone assignment since 1994). I, too, was amazed at how Iraq, as your interviewees noted, is so very different now, compared to last year. But I was also strongly impressed by another phenomenon, which while not unique to Iraq, was perhaps more extreme in that country than in any other war zone I’ve been to.
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A quick note on your “War Stories” article: Are you sure David Rabb, AM’88, didn’t join the military to escape Chicago’s poor north suburbs, or maybe its poor western suburbs?

If Rabb lived in Harvey or Ford Heights or some other genuinely poor south suburb, you should have said so. Being specific would be more accurate and also, to be honest, less offensive.

Maybe you’ve already heard from the faculty and staff who live in Flossmoor and Olympia Fields and Homewood and Matteson and various other south suburbs.

Patricia Houlihan
Flossmoor, Illinois

I was impressed at the Wall Street Journalized image of Don M. Randel in the October/04 issue (“From the President”). It made the sense of his remarks tellingly visual. I was impressed, too, that he wrote that ideas matter. As a run-of-the-mill alumnus, I am somewhat dismayed to find the University and the Magazine tending to avoid the embarrassing fact that ideas matter—as do actions. Instead, we are treated to exaltation of the business school. We get quasi-meaningful references to alumni important enough to be featured in Fahrenheit 9/11.
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President Randel’s conception of architecture and its place in the university is a noble one, but it is curious that he never alludes to the question of beauty. This omission is probably connected to his implied rejection of “I like it” and “I don’t like it” as useful statements about architecture. A different school of thought would hold that such statements are indispensable beginnings of discussion because they are the beginnings of taste. One should be permitted to say “I like it” or “I don’t like it” so long as one’s next word is “because.”

David N. Levy, AB’92

President Randel makes a good argument for the importance of architecture in his October column, “Buildings and the Ideas Behind Them.” It’s a pity he didn’t mention the names of the architects of the two new campus buildings he celebrates.

Daniel Starr, AB’74, AM’77
New York City

The architect of the new Graduate School of Business Hyde Park Center is Rafael Viñoly, and the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital is the work of two firms: Stanley Beaman & Sears, which designed the exterior, and HLM Design, which planned the interior.—Ed.

I read with amusement “Behind the Campus Buzz” (October/04). Amphetamines as study aids were quite common on campus in the ’60s and ’70s, long before the ADD/ADHD/AADD diagnosis and treatment were enshrined in the DSM bible. Everyone knew of their effects on sleep (you don’t) and concentration (like a railroad track). One friend would show up every fall with a jar of 5,000 5-mg tabs of dexadrine, provided by his physician father to help him study.
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I stood in my kitchen reading the article on student abuse of Aderall and Ritalan with a combination of fear and understanding. As current graduate students, my husband and I (both AB’99) often joke that we’d get so much more done if sleeping and eating were optional. We plod along, exhausted but happy to be in school; such drugs aren’t an option for us. Aside from the health implications, I worry about the standards that this “new breed” of student is setting—is this hyper-overexertion now the norm, and when does quality suffer from quantity?

All good questions, but they must wait for another day. It’s 1 a.m., my double espresso is done brewing, and I have 100 pages of Labor Law reading due in the morning.

Rebecca Hankin Benghiat, AB’99
Hoboken, New Jersey

In the print edition of the December/04 issue, a typographical error turned this address into an ethnic slur. We apologize to all our readers.—Ed.

While “Behind the Campus Buzz” highlighted the abuse of prescription ADHD drugs by students seeking performance enhancers beyond caffeine, my own GPA is evidence that I didn’t succumb to the temptation. However, for the past year or so, I’ve legitimately taken Ritalin pills every day. I don’t have ADHD; I have narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is the disorder people laugh at in the movies when they show characters suddenly stiffening and falling over, fast asleep.
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As a new alumnus, I already miss the “Alumni Works” section (“Editor’s Notes,” October/04). While I appreciate the efforts to give more in-depth treatment to fewer of the projects, those pages were the ones I would turn to first. Without them, I fear we are losing a simple, yet vital way to participate in the University’s intellectual life. Please restore the pages as soon as possible.

Terry M. Duchow, AM’03

To reduce the lag between receipt of a book notice and when it appears in print, we have gone online ( with a new department, updated weekly. “In Their Own Words” lets authors describe their latest work(s) at length and link to the publisher’s Web site for more information.—Ed.

You missed it in “Deaths” (October/04): Herman H. Goldstine, SB’33, SM’34, PhD’36, wasn’t merely “an Army computer developer during WW II.” Rather, as noted in the Department of Defense publication, 50 Years of Army Computing: “As an Ordinance Department officer, Captain Herman H. Goldstine recognized the potential of the proposal (by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Jr.) to build an electronic computing machine, nurtured it, found money to support the project, defended it against critics, and helped publicize its achievements.” The computing machine was the ENIAC, the first electronic computing machine, and the worlds of science, business, communications, and warfare have never been the same.

Gene Feit, SM’64, PhD’68
Austin, Texas

I read with interest “Higher Grounds” in the August/04 issue (“Chicago Journal”). As one who worked in the Divinity School coffee shop during my last year of seminary, it is refreshing to hear how little it has changed. We wore T-shirts that said “Find Sanctuary” back in the late ’80s. I tried to change our motto to “Serving coffee to the nation’s finest theologians—and their professors” without success.

I suspect that the name “Grounds of Being” comes from Paul Tillich’s phrase “the Ground of Being.” I remember Langdon Gilkey intoning the latter phrase repeatedly during a course on Tillich’s theology.

Thomas C. Willadsen, MDV’90
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Neil Harris’s article (“Legacy of Luxury,” October/04) about those fine old high-rise apartments and hotels near the University brought back fond memories. I often admired them while riding the IC [now the Metra] on my way to and from the Loop. In the spring of 1947 I remember taking a hike from Burton-Judson over to Promontory Point. After passing the Windermere, I headed over to the Shoreland. On the far side of its parking lot, across from the main entrance, were many fine automobiles backed against the curb. Most were Cadillacs, also some Packards. There was one automobile, however, that stuck out into the lot about six feet further than all of those. It was a beautiful gray Duesenberg sedan.

James A. Lessly, PhB’50
O’Fallon, Missouri

Leonard R. Friedman (“Letters,” October/04) makes an apt point in comparing the content of letters to the Harvard alumni magazine with those in the Chicago alumni magazine: letters to the University of Chicago Magazine typically speak of the past, while Harvard Magazine letters comment on important current issues, national and international. However, Mr. Friedman doesn’t suggest a cause for this disparity, which I suspect is due to the content of the magazines.
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The University of Chicago Alumni Association is seeking nominations of alumni to serve on its Board of Governors, a 25-member group that sets policy relating to alumni and advises the University on matters of interest and concern to alumni.

We are looking for candidates with a record of involvement in, support for, and commitment to the University. Members are chosen from the whole alumni body. The board’s composition ideally reflects the diversity of Chicago alumni with respect to age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and degree(s). For more information, please go to
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In “Want to Get Your Hands on an Antiquarian Treasure?” (“Arts & Letters,” October/04) the Magazine inadvertently provided the wrong publication date for Redouté’s botanical album Choix des Plus Belles Fleurs. Redouté’s album was issued in 36 parts between 1827 and 1833.

The University of Chicago Magazine welcomes letters. Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity. To ensure the widest range of views, we encourage letters of fewer than 300 words. Write: Editor, University of Chicago Magazine, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL60637. Or e-mail:


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