Duke University Alumni Magazine

Please limit letters to no more than 300 words. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Include full name, address, and class year. Our fax number is (919) 684-6022 and our internet address --for Forum and class notes only--is: dukemag@acpub.duke.edu


I am a graduate of the Class of 1947 Duke nursing school. My husband, Frank, received his bachelor's and master's at Duke in 1948 and 1949.

     We always look forward to reading the class notes in the Duke Magazine, but to our horror, we discovered that we no longer exist! I refer to the classes prior to the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies in the July-August issue. What happened? No notes at all for us old folks of the Forties (and before).

     Personally, we're alive, well, and kicking. We even play golf several times a week, and do seminars on assertiveness training and stress management to large groups, so my mind is still active, too.

     Please do not leave our classes of the Twenties, Thirties, and Forties out again.

Jean Bundy Scott R.N. ' 47
Floyd, Virginia

We also regret that earlier classes don't always appear. Some must think that only job changes, marriages, or births constitute class-note-worthiness. A special anniversary, an award-winning essay, a performance in a local theater group, recognition for community service--all are items alumni can share with their classmates. We hope your letter will prompt our older--and probably more active--graduates to send us their news.



     In the article "A Move Toward Moderation" [July-August 1997], the picture on page 16 is captioned Cafe Society: at Hartman's, 1936. Some of those pictured, Ray Hawes, Don O'Brien, and Peter Maas, were eight years old in 1936. The ages of the girls are a secret to this day. It seems more likely that the picture was snapped in 1948 or 1949.

     More important is that, in actuality, you could not have selected five individuals more qualified to symbolize moderation. Apparently, the paparazzi caught Don [center] blinking his eyes. Pete is raising what appears to be a glass of beer, but I doubt that beer was ever quaffed. Ray was never obstreperous.

     Indeed, all were the life of the party, but moderate to the core, and certainly not examples of the "wretched excesses of the past."

George Y. Bliss ' 51
Port Jefferson, New York

Thank you, and others, for catching this captioning error, for which we apologize. The picture is from the 1948 Chanticleer. All photos in the story were chosen for their historical value; we did not intend to imply that those depicted were representative of the negative aspects of "social" drinking.



     I just finished reading the article "Curiosity and the Camel" in your July-August issue and wanted to note that Frank Smullin could not have died in 1978 because I took one of my most memorable classes at Duke from him in 1982. This course, "Structures," was co-taught by Smullin, an artist; Steve Wainwright, a zoologist; and George Pearsall, an engineer. It was a truly interdisciplinary experience which forced the participating students and faculty to look at the world around them in new ways.

     Hearing of Frank Smullin's death [November 1983] sparked a moment of reflection as to how influential that course was for me. Thinking back on it now, I continue to see that class as a turning point that led me first to a master's in design, then to a doctorate in psychology, and to my current career researching and teaching about issues in three-dimensional form.

     This course and the faculty who put it together are testimony to the fact that some of the most exciting intellectual adventures are found in the nooks and crannies between mainstream academic disciplines. We should celebrate those teachers and students willing to explore those regions.

Eric N. Wiebe ' 82
Raleigh, North Carolina



     I just finished re-reading the article about John Marans '79 and his play, Old Wicked Songs, in the March-April issue. I will be playing the role of Stephen in the Minneapolis premiere of the work in September. At the time of my audition, I had no idea of his Duke connection, nor that we had studied singing with the same voice teacher.

     I thought the story was comprehensive and well written. The interview aspects were particularly helpful as I begin the process of discovering this character. The timing of publication couldn't have been better. Thanks!

Peter Vitale ' 86



     The "Gazette" article [July-August 1997] about Dick White's retirement as dean of Arts and Sciences brought back a couple of strong memories from the fall of 1963. Lloyd Dunn '65 and I were Dr. White's first two students (small class!) in his first "Plant Anatomy" course.

     The good memory is of a great teacher who influenced both of us to be botany majors and enter careers in science. I also remember that we were in that class when JFK was shot, an event that sobered our moods and activities for quite a few weeks.

Teddy Reyling Devereux ' 66, A.M. ' 71

The letter writer heads the Molecular Toxicology Group in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park.



     I am a student from Belgium visiting the States, and I found your article "Where Are the C's of Yesteryear?" [May-June 1997] very revealing. I am very interested in the differences between the grading psychology in the States and in Europe, particularly since U.S. universities vary from substandard to outstanding.

     I discussed this subject with a number of American students; they tell me that a substantial number of professors are soft on grading because they need to get good student evaluations, which translate to popularity, which translates to salary increases. This, of course, doesn't apply to "star" professors whose classes are always full and are immune to such "bribing," as it is beyond their professional dignity.

     This evaluation business is appealing and at the same time appalling to me. It is un-academic, and it is possible only in America, where business manners (the customer is always right) prevail.

Jean Zvolsky
Davidson, North Carolina



     I enjoyed the mini-profile on Mary Ellen Jones '59 A.M. '59, author of John Jakes: A Critical Companion ["Capturing a Life, July-August 1997]. In her book, she quotes Jakes on his financial motive for writing: "We had four children.... Virtually everything that I made from my writing went into their college education."

     It's true. The Kent Family Chronicles paid for my tuition in 1975-79.

J. Michael Jakes B.S.E. ' 79
Washington, D.C.

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