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the mailbag

Dear Albright Reporter,

A number of articles that have been printed in The Albright Reporter have brought back memories of former days at Albright.

The article about Leslie Knox (Vol. 21, #3) stimulated some of these memories. In 1935 I was a student at Union County Junior College located in Roselle, N.J. where I played center on the basketball team. Our coach was Al Dittman, a former distinguished athlete at Albright. Al arranged a post-season game between our school and the previously unbeaten Albright freshmen team, on which Les Knox was the center. After the game we stayed in Reading a few days, and I liked what I saw. So I entered Albright as a junior the next year.

The picture of the Chapel shown in the article "World War II knocks on Albright’s Door" (Vol. 20, #4) caught my attention since I lived there in 1937 during my senior year. In 1936, Jewish students were barred from becoming members of fraternities. This aroused a protest from the Jewish students suffering this discrimination. The college sidestepped the issue by arranging through Professor Lewis Smith for most of the boarding Jewish students to take up residence in the Chapel in the 1937 school year.

This move almost resulted in our mass expulsion from Albright. One evening, a number of the Chapel residents started a water fight in the upstairs hallway. Some water leaked through the ancient floor into the Chapel itself, and when the other students came to Chapel the next morning for religious exercises, they were greeted with a watery salute. Professor Smith stormed upstairs threatening us with mayhem, and our departure from Albright became a sobering possibility. Fortunately, Dean Walton decided to overlook the incident with a warning that any further occurrence of the same kind would not be tolerated.

When I received your spring issue (Vol. 21, # 2) I was immediately attracted to the article by Craig Pearson on Dr. Marcus Green. We knew him as Professor Green and I was in his 1936 “Organic Chemistry” class. As Dr. Pearson so correctly mentions, Prof. Green was indeed a crusty character who gave us a hard time during each semester, low-grading us at midterm, but grading us fairly at the end of the term. He concentrated on teaching us theoretical synthesis, and indeed, his final exams were a lottery. He prepared as many slips as there were students in the class, and each student had to draw a slip from the pile. Each slip was different and consisted of a number of syntheses. In each one we were requested to set up a series of reactions, going from a relatively simple compound to a more complex one, then back again to the simple one.

If one knew his organic chemistry, he could be out of the final examination room in 15 minutes, although several hours were allotted for the test. These mental exercises proved invaluable to me in my later life when I became a chemist working for several pharmaceutical firms before I set up a company of my own in Vancouver, British Columbia, specializing in the synthesis of organic chemicals.

Milt Freiman
Class of 1937

Responses to "Terrorism: Where Do We Go from Here?" (Summer 2002 issue)

Dear Ms. Abodalo:

Your article in The Albright Reporter, "Terrorism: Where Do We Go From Here," is one of the most sensible and encouraging pieces of writing I have seen since September 11, 2001… and for a long time before that! Thank you!
Would that more in Washington understood: "The failure to adequately address and resolve the root causes of terrorism will only produce an unlimited supply of individuals willing to become human bombs engaging in senseless acts of human destruction."

Peter F. Geschwindner
Class of 1974

Dear Ms. Abodalo,

I think that you have missed your calling, but your photo suggests that you are still young enough to pursue the ministry and do the world some good. Your essay in The Albright Reporter, "Terrorism: Where Do We Go from Here?" was a very thoughtful and potentially productive line. Your observation that "…America has a certain responsibility to replace a sense of arrogance and invincibility with humility and introspection…" is probably a leading answer to our "failure to adequately address and resolve the root cause of terrorism." However, you do not deal with the cause(s) and only suggest vigilance and bravery and the power of intelligence.

I have been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Society (UUS) and am delighted with your thoughts. I’d like to offer you a copy of a recent article taken from their monthly periodical, UU World (Vol. XVI, No. 5). The article, by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker, is the commentary "Against Vengeance," and provides some of the ideas consistent with response to your "root cause" dilemma.

When I attended Albright in the early 50s it was a church related college without a question, and World War II was still very fresh in our minds. The history of that war and in fact, preceding wars, had the strong relationship of "God at war" supporting us, and enabled us to kill in his name. The subject is too complex for this brief note, but please accept this information as a thought which you may appreciate. The UU Society’s loaded with these kinds of thinkers and doers.

Claude Deegan
Class of 1951

Dear Albright Reporter,

Just wanted to pass on my comments with regard to "The Last Word" article, "Terrorism: Where Do We Go From Here?" It is the best written article I have seen on the issue. Carla is to be commended for a sane, rational and desperately needed approach. Coming from an "old warrior" that is really a compliment!

For whatever it's worth, let me provide an "off the wall" thought on a follow-up that could be a demonstration of Albright's leadership in the global community. My specific suggestion: Albright sponsor a colloquium/symposium on how to address and resolve the root causes of terrorism. It seems like our national agenda is to deal with everything BUT how to resolve the causes. I have no doubt that Albright could recruit some high powered notables to address the issue.

Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor to the Bush senior administration comes to mind as an example. In addition there should be creative representatives from all walks of life, including some Albright students who are familiar with global issues. Out of the dialogue and discussion must come some specific, doable proposals. I believe such an effort could give Albright national PR exposure. I believe we need an innovative means to shift the focus to human rather than just the usual ideological and geo-political issues.

Take care.
George Updegrove
Class of 1955

Dear Albright Reporter,

In the summer issue of The Albright Reporter, an instructor named Carla Abodalo wrote a typical liberal article telling the reader we must learn to understand the terrorists (Muslims). Can you imagine this approach being taken after Pearl Harbor? Fortunately, history provides us with a tragic example of doing nothing. It was provided to us by Neville Chamberlain in about 1939 or 40 when he thought he understood Adolf Hitler.

I worked with Muslims for about five years and find that most are regular people. However, the leadership is radical. In one instance where I was working in Northern Iraq, 25 Muslim men were murdered. The wives were told to go down to the local dam and they’d find the dead men’s heads. Later, six men had tires placed around them then set on fire. My conclusion is that all religions are not equal.

Certainly Islam is several steps below Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and so forth. In no other religion are adulterous women stoned to death (Nigeria), thieves beheaded (Saudi Arabia and other middle Eastern countries), little girls circumcised (most Muslim countries in Africa and Muslims in India), women denied all kinds of rights and the list could go on.

I think America has to go into the radical Muslim countries and destroy them from the ground up for its own protection. Then for the next couple of decades we can have the appeasers like Ms. Abodalo tell us all we need to know about why the Muslims feel it’s okay to kill 3,000 people in N.Y. and D.C. and can use poison gas to kill little dogs. It’s too bad they
didn’t gas some endangered species instead of common dogs. In one word, those terrorists and their ilk are EVIL.

Harry H. Houck
Class of 1954

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