October 24, 2007: Letters
Letter Box Online
PAW welcomes letters on its contents and topics related to Princeton University. We may edit them for length, accuracy, clarity, and civility; brevity is encouraged. Letters, articles, and photos submitted to PAW may be published or distributed in print, electronic, or other forms. Due to the volume of correspondence, we are unable to publish all letters received. Write to PAW, 194 Nassau St., Suite 38, Princeton, NJ 08542; send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ray Ollwerther ’71’s account of the experiences of a group of undergraduates studying the Vietnam War in Hanoi last summer (feature, Sept. 26) prompts me to write about another opportunity for Princetonians to become involved in building ties between the United States and Vietnam.
Teachers for Vietnam is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing ESL teachers to Vietnamese colleges and universities for an academic year. This fall we sent our first five teachers — all recent college graduates — to several institutions in the Mekong Delta. It would be great to have a Princeton alum join next year’s contingent! We provide airfare and health insurance and cover the costs of a weekend teacher-training session (held on campus, under the auspices of Princeton-in-Asia). Knowledge of Vietnamese is not necessary, merely a willingness to engage with another culture and an openness to the discoveries and personal growth this brings.
For further information, you can visit www.teachersforvietnam.org.
JOHN V.H. DIPPEL ’68
I wonder what PAW has gained by printing T. James Binder ’77’s letter (Sept. 26) bemoaning Princeton’s awarding an honorary degree to Muhammad Ali. Not only is it laden with the writer’s prejudices regarding the “Black Muslim” faith, but also Binder’s assertion that the University’s “selection committee had scant actual knowledge of Ali’s statements, conduct, or affiliations” is certainly way off the mark, as is his insulting suggestion that next year the University should “confer a doctorate of animal husbandry upon NFL quarterback Michael Vick.”
Among his many and extraordinary accomplishments, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony Nov. 9, 2005.
WILHELMUS B. BRYAN III ’47
The great Class of 1937 is somewhat disgruntled by the lack of photo coverage that PAW gave us at our big 70th (feature, July 18). Despite the fact that we had classmates back from as far away as Switzerland, Florida, and Illinois (with some classmates walking the entire distance in the P-rade), that we were the only class in the P-rade with Roman numerals on our banner, and that we proclaimed our theme of “Aged to Perfection,” PAW ran only one small picture of just one of our illustrious classmates.
JOHN S. EBERHARDT ’37
Editor’s note: At PAW’s request, the class provided the Reunions photo above.
There has been much elaboration in these pages on the unique and “most rigorous test of all”; namely, completing the Princeton senior thesis (e.g., “The making of a thesis/dissertation: Five stories,” July 18). In all the varied discussion over the years of the impact the thesis has had on our lives, I don’t know whether there has ever been any mention of alumni like myself for whom the experience has included never entirely leaving the subject and exertions of our senior year at Princeton.
As a biochemical sciences major, I studied the role of carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme catalyzing the reaction of water and carbon dioxide in all tissues, and whether it is essential for maximal exercise, both in rats and humans. As part of these investigations, I even served as one of my own subjects, a venerable tradition in medical research. I was extremely fortunate to have had as my thesis advisers Professor Walter Kauzmann, an international authority on the chemistry of water, and Thomas H. Maren ’38, professor and chairman of pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of Florida and the foremost carbonic anhydrase expert.
My research (more than 50 publications) since then on the enzyme and drugs affecting its activity has ranged from its importance in respiratory disease and intensive-care medicine to its functions in many other creatures and circumstances as far afield as fish in acid waters and mountaineers with acute high-altitude illnesses. Besides being as much fun and stimulating now as then, continuation of my thesis work 34 years on has been a wonderful way to keep me “going back.” Perhaps, in a way, I’ve never left.
ERIK R. SWENSON ’74
Sometime in the late 1890s, the publishing house Charles Scribner’s Sons gave to Princeton, the alma mater of their principals, a suite of drawings of the University that their artist had prepared for an article published in Scribner’s Magazine in June 1897. The artist was William Robinson Leigh, later to become famous as a painter of Western subjects. According to Leigh in his autobiography, “the drawings were framed in school colors.” As part of a study of Leigh’s work, I would like to see the drawings, but I have checked all over the Princeton University library and archives and with the art museum, and no one has reported any trace of them. The original drawings, of various dimensions, were no larger than 7 inches by 5 inches, but bulked out with matting and “framed in school colors” they of course would be larger. Has anyone seen such a set of drawings, framed in orange and black, anywhere on campus? I can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 301-951-9479.
DONALD FARREN ’58
A memorial for John Roy Dufford Jr. ’55 in the Sept. 26 issue incorrectly stated that he taught at the Peddie School. Dufford earned his master’s degree while teaching at the Pingry School, where he was a teacher, coach, and mentor for 38 years.