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Fall 2011: Letters

Something to Learn

The article by Lois Elfman on the education panel was very interesting. We certainly do need to do something to improve education in the USA! However we cannot rely on the federal government to do everything for us. Who knows what is best for the students? The school they attend, the community in which they live, and therefore the individual state in which the community is located and which is responsible for guidance and funds. Put more responsibility in the hands of the states and the voters.

With a quality education almost everyone could go to college, but should they? Nowadays it seems that the stress of educational institutions is college for everyone. From observation of many who have crossed my path, this emphasis is badly directed. Some start college and quit.Some go into business for themselves in a variety of fields because they would prefer to work outdoors or work with their hands: cabinetmakers, auto mechanics, tool makers, landscapers, building contractors, etc.

Education, yes! College, maybe. In my view educational offerings need to be broader. High school should give everyone a good basic education in reading (literature), writing (essays, reports, business documents, etc.) and math and science— preparation for any field of the student’s choice including college.

—Helen Cornell Koenig ’42

Bernardsville, NJ

 

Where the Heart Is

When I read “Homecoming Dean,” I was overcome by acute nostalgia for my days at Barnard. As a recent graduate, the words “coming home to Barnard” resonated strongly with me. I am proud to be part of a college with alumnae, like Dean Hinkson, who are connected and tirelessly devoted to improving Barnard. I am thrilled Dean Hinkson has come home and I am sure she
will make Barnard stronger and more beautiful.

Barnard will always be a special place for us alumnae despite the number of years passed since we left those majestic iron gates. I hope that my fellow alumnae feel connected to Barnard each and every day as I do.

—Sonal Kumar ’11

Somerset, NJ

 

Fan Mail

I hope you’ve received an avalanche of notes from alumnae about the elegant, good-to-read Barnard Magazine you are now turning out. For years I thought that Barnard’s efforts in this arena were lightweight and poorly presented. I occasionally grumbled to friends, wondering why the College tolerated such an embarrassing publication. It’s always tricky, I’m sure, to showcase a school’s many and amazing strengths without sounding complacent or like a cheerleading claque. In any case, be assured that you’ve found a fine, engaging balance. I especially appreciate those happy young male philosophers on the cover of the Spring 2011 issue. There’s a gorgeous (institutional) confidence in that cover—and in the story, too, of their tight supportive friendship (a bond which feminists can enjoy in men) and of Barnard’s decision to find a way to hire the two of them....

—Doris Platzker Friedensohn ’58

Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies, New Jersey City University

Leonia, NJ

 

More on the Military

Thank you for the article on alumnae in the military. I took “Modern Constitutional Democracy” (AKA government 1) with Professor Morrison my first year (1964–65). I remember her saying that the Pentagon had plans for the time when women would be subject to the draft. I thought she had “jumped the string bean.” I graduated in 1968 when pride in our military was zero on campus. I am so glad to have lived to see women serving as peers with men and—gasp—
being honored by our college community.

— Rosemary Jablonski Ford ’68

Chapel Hill, NC

Good Game

I think the Spring 2011 issue of Barnard Magazine was one of the best. The alumnae in military piece were inspiring, uplifting, and, I daresay, riveting. The Greek Games, memories—so vivid after all these decades—were almost as good and positively delightful to read. Hopefully, the revival will generate similar future goodwill three or four score years hence.

 Thank you.

—Christopher F. Graham, widower of Theresa Smith Graham ’75

Bedford Corners, NY

 

Raise Your Voice

So, Greek Games is back. Good! Now a College Song Leader should also be resurrected.

I attend meetings of Barnard in the Midwest. We meet in Minneapolis twice a year. Our get-togethers include the singing of either “Beside the Waters of the Hudson” or “Just Up the Banks of the Hudson.” (Aside: I led “Beside the Waters of the Hudson” at an assembly when Eleanor Roosevelt was the speaker.)

There’s nothing like singing a Barnard school song to mellow out a group of old grads. Undergrads need to sing these songs before they graduate! And we should sing them at Reunion too. Bring back the College Song Leader!

—Verna Beaver ’43

Saint Paul, Minn.