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Core claim

At a time when American higher education is in a state of deep crisis, it amazes me that the best reforms the University can come up with, after five years of reflection, are to reduce the size of the Common Core and to increase the College’s size. The reduced emphasis on the Common Core reduces the distinctiveness of the University, which is its main claim as against Howard, Yale, Stanford, etcetera.

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., AM’70, PhD’75

Washington, D.C.

Striking images

The photographs in “Culling the Shots” (April/98) were the most moving images I have seen in years and perhaps the most poignant and informative ever to appear in a university magazine. Thanks for substance and heft and emotions.

Brian Doyle, Editor

Portland, The University of Portland Magazine

Portland, Oregon

As shallow as they come

I was surprised to see your isolated quote of actress Drew Barrymore’s smugly PC comment on the virtues of condoms at a recent campus panel on safe sex (“Voices on the Quads,” April/98). Was there no one on the panel to dispute her highly controversial claim?

The public schools have been trying this brand of safe sex for over two decades. As the intensity and explicitness of the classroom instruction have increased, so in direct proportion have the rates of teen sex, teen pregnancy, abortion, AIDS, and other venereal diseases (anyone who has lived through puberty may have a clue as to why). At the same time a lot of money has been made by organizations who supply the “education” on the front end and the abortions on the back end. Yet by some strange twist it is the opponents of safe sex who are labeled “naive”!

Surely there must have been some “voices on the quads” who didn’t roll over for Barrymore’s shallow prescription. It would have been nice to hear from them.

Christopher S. Corbett, AB’78

Lewisville, Texas

Meeting cute at the U of C

We had to do a double-take when reading “Going south, meeting cute, and T-ing off” (“Editor’s Notes,” April/98). My wife and I have told the same story many times. Further proof that “meeting cute” can and does happen at the University of Chicago.

In October of 1985, we met at a party at the Fiji house at the U of C. Deborah was a freshman, and I…well, I was a bit older. Anyhow, I was with my friend Sam, and Deborah walked into the room. She made google eyes at me, and Cupid went to work. I elbowed Sam and said, “See her? I’m in love with her and I’m going to marry her.” That was it. All over. Done. Finis.

There was no bet, though. Sam, knowing my tastes, simply said, “Yeah. I can see it. She’s your type—an SCO.”

“An SCO?” I asked.

“Yes,” Sam said, “a short, cute one.” I asked her to dance and the rest is history. A few years later, we eloped and were married on Valentine’s Day. Remarkably, neither of us ever studied chemistry. You can’t meet any cuter than that!

Clayton Cafiero

Deborah Satinsky Cafiero, AB’89

Stamford, Connecticut

Shell game

All the parents had left, the welcoming speeches were over; it was a beautiful autumn afternoon the second day of Orientation Week for entering students. I was lying in the grass perusing Nutshell Magazine in the front yard of Woodward Court. There she was. Sitting on the corrugated steel sculpture reading Nutshell was the 17-year-old girl who was to be my wife.

Looking directly at her, I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to take a walk over to the lake and along the water?” She glanced up and shook her head dismissively. The friend sitting beside her hopped up and said she’d be delighted to go. It wasn’t cool.

I watched and waited. About five weeks later I sat unobtrusively at her table at dinner and listened to her hold court with a group of friends from Wallace about her interest in ESP. I popped over to Regenstein the next day and read up on ESP and parapsychology. That evening I made sure my roommate and I sat near her and, as planned, I began declaiming about the latest research in parapsychology. I noted her glance in my direction. I spoke passionately about my interest in the phenomena of ESP and the burgeoning interest of the scientific community in paranormal events. She was listening intently. I nodded and commented that she seemed like someone who’d had some paranormal experiences. Bait taken.

I called from Flint to Wallace later that night and arranged our first date, a medieval morality play, Everyman, at Rockefeller Chapel. That Friday evening I touched her for the first time, when my right arm encircled her shoulders in a pew in Rockefeller Chapel. It was 1973.

This summer Alicia [Todd Rasley, X’77] and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary and our boys’ 10th and 12th birthdays. I took Erika Fromm’s course Altered States of Consciousness as an elective, but otherwise didn’t do any further study of parapsychology. But the moment I saw Alicia sitting on the sculpture outside Woodward Court, I could predict my future.

Jeffrey S. Rasley, AB’75

Indianapolis, Indiana

Love and economics

This may not fit your “cute” description, but it is heartfelt. In October 1936 I was a second-year graduate student in economics at the U of C. I was sitting in on Professor Jacob Viner’s famous and forbidding course, Economics 301, which I had had the year before but wanted to review. On the first day, leaving the classroom, I saw a young girl sitting in the back row looking very puzzled. I said to her, “Is this all Greek to you?” She said it was, and I undertook to explain it to her. Ten weeks later we were engaged to be married. After not-quite 60 years of marriage, she died last year. I will always be grateful to the U of C for those 60 years.

Herbert Stein, PhD’58

Washington, D.C.

Share car, will marry

I don’t know if my husband and I met as cute as Harry and Sally, but we certainly did meet in a similar way. If you know the plot of When Harry Met Sally, in fact, you already have our own story line. Two U of C students who’d never have gotten together otherwise share the proverbial “gas and driving” to the East Coast, have fun and adventures on the way, and end up stuck together for life. Unlike Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, however, it didn’t take us years of on-again, off-again to begin serious nesting.

Just about the time the movie came out, in 1989, I was finishing up a master’s paper in political philosophy. Summer was coming and I needed a break from Greek verbs and the Iliad and the Odyssey, so I put up a note on the Reynolds Club ride board, right over New England, that I’d split driving and gas to get to Northhampton, Massachusetts, where one of my college friends was a student. Months went by—my notice drew no takers. Until one day in mid-summer, when some guy called and said that he wanted to attend a scientific conference in New Hampshire and had seen my notice. Was I still game?

Indeed I was, although a little bit wary of driving 15 hours with some fellow I’d never met. This fellow, a Ph.D. candidate in physical chemistry, came over to my apartment to introduce himself and endured the scrutiny of my neighbors, several of whom I’d recruited to pop in on various pretexts to check out this guy—whose name was Britt—prior to our trip. He passed the test, and we departed for New England in his old Volvo.

Put a political philosopher together in a confined space in 90-degree weather with a physical chemist and what do you get? In our case, lots of laughter, bespeaking a shared sense of humor; conversations in German, which we’d both dabbled in; and a long-suppressed desire to see Niagara Falls, which we indulged. We even took the little boat out underneath the thunderous Falls.

Upon our return to Hyde Park, we promised to get together for a Cubs game before the summer was out. We never did make it to Wrigley Field, but nine years and a beautiful daughter later, we’re still together, and still enjoy telling our “how we met” story. The ride board in the Reynolds Club: our matchmaker!

Susie Hiss Thomas, AM’88

Britt Nolon Thomas, PhD’89

Laramie, Wyoming

Looking back at the MSTP

The University of Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is now more than 30 years old. A Look Back, published by the program, highlights significant accomplishments of those years and is a summary of current positions and career outcomes of the MSTP graduates.

Since the program began, 146 trainees have graduated with both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Of these, 39 percent are in residency or fellowship programs for advanced training; 42 percent hold academic appointments in clinical or basic science departments at major universities; 7 percent do research at NIH, at national laboratories, or in industry; and 10 percent are in office- or hospital-based practice. Two percent are deceased or not active in biomedical research or clinical activity.

We continuously update our records and are particularly interested in our grads’ current professional activities. If you would like a copy of A Look Back, please call 773/702-9755 or e-mail us at jackie@ Include your current position and mailing address.

Jacqueline M. McKissack, AM’70

U of C Medical Scientist Training Program


Collection plates

Quite unexpectedly, we have found four U of C plates dated 1932. They are in excellent condition. We’d be happy to have the plates find a good home. Interested purchasers could contact me at 203/655-0048 or by fax at 203/655-7761.

Janet W. Evans

Darien, Connecticut

The Magazine invites letters on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters must be signed and may be edited. Write: Editor, University of Chicago Magazine, 1313 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail:

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