On What Matters
I appreciated Professor Ogurtsova’s “What Matters to Me and Why” essay in the spring 2008 issue of Beloit College Magazine. I’ve also enjoyed her remarks at orientation sessions for new students and recruits (my stepson is one—hence my receipt of the magazine).
Having lost some seven of my family (grandmother, aunts, uncles) during the same period and in roughly the same time and place where Professor Ogurtsova’s kin died during the Second World War, I suggest that, next time, the phrase “executed by the Germans” might be replaced by “murdered by the fascists.” Execution, to me, has always implied the severe result of some at least quasi-judicial process.
Moreover, more and more research is revealing that a giant proportion of the murders of civilians and prisoners of war perpetrated against “Soviets” of all nationalities were carried out by Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Croats, Hungarians, and others, frequently at the Nazis’ behest, but often only with their permission.
Michael Stoken (P’11)
Highland Park, Ill.
I made a presentation on campus last year through the “What Matters to Me and Why” series, which was summarized and published in the spring issue of this magazine. I’d like to add a few remarks to that summary to tie together some of the ideas presented there.
In my comments, I shared stories about my past because I wanted students to understand how life presents us with turning points, and that the decisions we make at those critical junctures have the power to lead us down very different paths.
In my case, I was extremely fortunate that caring people were there for me at exactly those times—family members, teachers and advisors at college, even the dean of students where I was an undergraduate. I would not be the dean at Beloit today if it hadn’t been for the encouragement and direction of these key individuals, and most importantly, the love and support of my wife, Cathy, and my two sons, Jeremy and Ryan.
It matters to me that I have the chance to do the same for our students now, to serve at a great place like Beloit, where I can mentor and encourage students, hopefully serve as a role model, and when necessary, hold students accountable for their actions. Even after 28 years at Beloit, I am filled with great pride and emotion every spring when our graduates walk across that Commencement stage.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Notes on Earlier Classes?
The last issue was a very good one except I was sad to see that “The Classes” section started with 1952. I’m certain that some of us ancient alumni are still around, and I’d like to hear about them from time to time. I hope the omission is not permanent.
San Diego, Calif.
Your last issue focused on Chamberlin Hall with snippets of life there. Monk-E (1969-84) was a rat terrier who spent the winter of 1972 with me at the Yfeere House (a non-sorority group and campus house). She quickly discovered that Professor Hank Woodard in geology liked coffee and carried around his too-full cup. Anyone wanting to find Prof. Woodard only had to follow the dog as she cleaned up the trail.
Monk-E was a foundling from the 1969 Beloit College Field School at Cahokia, Ill. She was named for Monk’s Mound, the most prominent feature at the site. She was an extremely able field archaeologist and never dug up pits. Although just a 15-pounder, she could find pathways through heavy brush for surveys. She also rescued field crews and students who got lost in the wild. Even as an old lady (11 years) she kept campsites clean of vermin. In the morning there would be mouse carcasses surrounding the cabin, each with a very neat hole just behind the skull.
Monk-E demonstrated characteristics of primates for physical anthropology labs at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (eat fruits and vegetables, walk on two legs, speak, have retreating faces). Finally, it was cancer that claimed her in New Mexico at age 15.
M. Pamela Bumsted’72
Thank you for the work you and your colleagues have done on the latest issue of Beloit College Magazine. Everything from the layout, to the feel of the paper, to the quality of the photographs gave me a warm and welcoming impression of the school I graduated from three years ago. I especially liked the article “What Matters to Me and Why.”
Thank you for the new format of Beloit College Magazine. It’s easier to read with better background contrast, color, type, and other changes. It’s cleaner and more contemporary and yet keeps a historically distinctive style. However, please reconsider the cover masthead. With the latest issue, it’s almost like having two focal points on the cover: the word “Beloit” and the student’s face.
I loved the articles on “What Matters to Me” and the “Chamberlin Rats.” You maintain the tradition of interesting, inviting articles that attract the interests of long ago alumni.
Kansas City, Mo.