Fall 2017

Letters

A Word From Our Readers
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YOU MAY WANT TO READ HER LETTER TO THE EDITOR

In March, when the memoirist, children’s book author, and filmmaker Amy Krouse Rosenthal, J87, was facing certain death from ovarian cancer, the New York Times published her essay “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” a generous and moving dating profile for the soon-to-be-single love of her life, the Chicago attorney Jason Rosenthal. The essay quickly went viral, prompting an article about its author—“You May Want to Read Her Love Letter” by Beth Horning—in the Spring 2017 issue of Tufts Magazine. And that article has in turn prompted this open letter to Jason Rosenthal from the wife of Robert Ward Wilson, SMFA86. –Eds.


Dear Jason,

Your late wife, Amy, and my late husband, Bob, may never have met. Yet they lived their lives in synchrony, as I learned from reading “You May Want to Read Her Love Letter.” The article inspired me to see Amy’s short films and videos, and I was profoundly touched by her insight and humanity. I write both to extend my deepest condolences and to express my astonishment at what Amy would call the many opportunities for connectedness that life offers us.

One example of the synchrony between Amy and Bob is that their time at Tufts overlapped—Bob graduated in ’86, just a year ahead of Amy. A second example is that both Amy and Bob were artistic souls. Bob, who earned his degree from Tufts and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, predominantly painted abstractly, but when he became ill, he painted many small studies of fruit. I’ve left the most striking example of synchrony till last. It’s that our funny, gifted, boundlessly creative spouses were taken from us, too soon, by cancer. Bob died on February 14, 2013, of prostate cancer.

CHRISTINE SULLIVAN
PORTLAND, MAINE

 


TALES FROM THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE

I read “Admission Accomplished” by Sol Gittleman (Spring 2017) with great interest and a measure of nostalgia. I’d like to illustrate further what Gittleman wrote about the dynamism that Michael Behnke brought to his job as dean of admissions.

I applied to Tufts in the fall of 1983 as a foreign student, having just enjoyed a brief campus visit. Six months later, while I was trudging through mud at a Swiss Air Force base near Zurich, completing the basic training that was a requirement for young men in Switzerland back then, my platoon commander handed me a telegram my mother had forwarded. The message advised me that a letter of acceptance was in the mail, and that Tufts would be delighted to have me join the next freshman class. It was signed Michael Behnke. While cynics might call Behnke’s note to me smart marketing, I call it smart reaching out: I was amazed that an admissions office would go so far as to send a telegram (these were expensive) to a foreign student unclear about his future.

GUILLAUME de SYON, A87
LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA

 


My compliments on the Spring 2017 issue of Tufts Magazine, which I found rich in content from beginning to end. In particular, I enjoyed reading “Admission Accomplished.” This latest piece by Professor Gittleman, with its stories of Tufts’ forward-looking presidents and admissions directors, made the university’s rise to prominence over the postwar years come alive. More than any single individual, however, Professor Gittleman himself stands out to me as a living symbol of Tufts today. A true professor and professional in every sense.

CHRISTOPHER W. PARKER, A69
IPSWICH, MASSACHUSETTS

 


PIONEERING WOMEN IN THE CLERGY

Readers may have been flummoxed by an alternative fact in Charles A. Gaines’ interesting essay on Tufts’ Universalist heritage (“Tufts’ Lost Heritage,” Spring 2017). Gaines asserts that our country’s first ordained woman clergy was a Universalist, Olympia Brown, but Congregationalists know that this honor belongs to Antoinette Brown Blackwell, who was ordained at First Congregational Church in South Butler, New York, in 1853, ten years before Olympia Brown’s ordination. Blackwell graduated from Oberlin College in 1847 and completed seminary studies there in 1850. Rev. Blackwell served as pastor for one year before deciding that her real calling was to be a writer and lecturer on behalf of women’s rights. Brown credited Blackwell for inspiring her to become a minister.

MOYNE CUBBAGE, Ph.D.
BARRINGTON, RHODE ISLAND

 


THE ROLE OF FAKE NEWS

I was saddened but not surprised to read the article on “fake news” in Tufts Magazine (“Faking News” by Beth Horning and Francis Storrs, Spring 2017). You still don’t get it. The reason Trump won is because the majority of Americans do not ascribe to the values of the East or Left Coasts.

All future issues of your magazine will be thrown in the trash where they belong. So sad.

DR. JOSEPH R. ASIAF, A58
CENTERVILLE, MASSACHUSETTS

 


LUNCH WITH JUMBO

The Fall 2016 issue of Tufts Magazine was outstanding. I especially appreciated Francis Storrs’ oral history “The Great Barnum Fire,” which brought back many memories of the days when I commuted to Tufts from Chelsea, Massachusetts. I used to brown bag it at the feet of Jumbo each afternoon. Bud Carpenter, the zoology professor who presided over the stuffed elephant and all the other memorabilia in Barnum Hall, was my idol, and he also got me started on a lifetime of presenting scientific papers. I presented my first paper at his insistence—it was based on discoveries made in his comparative anatomy course.

LOUIS BURKE, A41, M45
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA