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UC Magazine

Letters to the Editor

University of Cincinnati magazine encourages readers to submit letters. Letters submitted online may be considered for publication here and in the print edition of the magazine.


Building bridges

What a fabulous, interesting and informative magazine [the October 2009 theme issue, "The Many Faces of UC: Appreciating our Differences"] I really enjoyed it. Diversity is a privilege. Let's build bridges, not walls.

Susan (Heil) Abernethy Frank, A&S '64
Newport, Ky.

This was, by far, the best alumni magazine ever! I love it. I hope it wins awards for you and your staff.

Meridy Glenn, MBA '97, assistant director annual giving
University of Cincinnati Foundation

Your October theme of diversity, especially of gay and lesbian concerns, was a wonderful accomplishment. Diversity can be something we merely observe, react to or celebrate. I am happy that you chose the last of these. I am proud that I graduated from UC and that it keeps pace with my liberal values. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Dave Flack, Bus '67
Sunnyvale, Calif.

I congratulate those persons who put together an exceptional diversity publication. This is a great item to build on.

George Wharton, director
UC Office of Equal Opportunity

It was a pleasure to read of Billy Hensley's research and UC's support of GLBTQ [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning] people on campus.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. UC's support of the broad range of sexual diversity extends back to the early 1970s when the first on-campus group formed in support of gay students. Sexual orientation has been included in UC's non-discrimination policy since then -- only years after the Stonewall rebellion that spawned the modern gay movement. The Women's Center has been an active supporter of GLBTQ students since that time, as well.

Students then were working and "coming out" not only for ourselves, but for the generations to come. It's heartwarming that Mr. Hensley [MEd '09] has not only reaped some of those seeds we sowed, but planted his own for students yet to come. Bravo!

David Giesler, CCM '81
Butler, Pa.

I would like to offer my personal thanks to those responsible for the content of the October '09 "UC Magazine," which contains a positive LGBTQ segment. This is the first time I remember LGBTQ people being featured and discussed in one of UC's glossy PR publications, and it feels like a breakthrough to me.

Deb Meem, professor, interim head
Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

I just read the new issue of the magazine. This is a terrific publication! I have worked in university public relations before and contributed to various publications; clearly this magazine is reflective of the commitment to quality evidenced daily at UC.

I am very committed to diversity and am eager to have the staff in my four departments read this issue in particular.

Jim Tinker, division director
Donor Recruitment and Community Relations
UC's Hoxworth Blood Center

Differing opinions

My husband and I both love your magazine; however, this one is way too heavy on diversity. It is making an issue of it, and that is not necessary and does not look good. Bad call, I would say.

I would prefer to have it all blended and not made "special." Otherwise the publication is excellent and always very interesting. This issue is an exception.

Sharry (Patterson) Addison, Ed '61
Englewood, Fla.

I write as an alumnus of the College of Engineering and the father of six children, including two sons with UC engineering degrees. The October 2009 issue of "UC Magazine" sounded an alarm regarding family values currently being promoted by the university in the name of diversity.

It appears that the article "Seeking Safe Spaces," which extols homosexual behavior and associated campus support programs, was designed to be an "in-your-face" affront to anyone holding Judeo-Christian standards of morality. Though UC may now provide a nurturing place for practicing homosexuals to "come out of the closet," I fear the campus may no longer be a safe place to send a child who has been raised to uphold the traditional values that have withstood the test of time through centuries of civilization.

Is UC caving in to the god of political correctness by aligning with those "that call evil good, and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20)?

William Grissom, Eng '59, MS (Eng) '67, PhD (Eng) '71
Xenia, Ohio

Diversity video

I just watched the "Faces of UC" video. I wish you could feel how proud I am to work for a wonderful institution such as UC. You have captured a wide range of fun, friendly and diverse faces, which not only make up the phenomenal community that is UC, but the very fabric of our world. I just had to tell you that I was impressed. You did a fantastic job!! Thank you.

Michael Southern, accommodation coordinator/program manager
UC Disability Services Office

Image of  a penny

Adding his two cents

Further to your discussion of "cent" and "penny" in the last letters column ("Making Sense of Cents"): As a numismatist, I remember that the English penny was made from silver starting in Anglo-Saxon times. The name and size, about the same as an American dime, derived from the German pfennig, which in turn was based on the Roman silver denarius. The Roman denarius was a day's wage for an unskilled laborer or common soldier.

Later on, in the 1700s, the British changed to a large copper penny. This was also the size of the first American cents, called "large cents," which were made from 1795 to 1857. Since then, America has used the "small cents" with several designs -- flying eagle, Indian head and Lincoln head.

Britain used pounds, shillings and pence -- the plural of penny -- until 1971 when they changed to decimal coinage with the new pound worth 100 pence.

I am not an etymologist, but the terms penny-pincher, penny arcade and penniless may have been carried over to America from British usage. "Two nations separated by a common language."

Martin Gibbons, Pharm '53

Athletics financial aid

I very much enjoyed reading the cover article in the recent "University of Cincinnati Magazine." The inspiring story of two Kenyan students who have been talented enough to rise beyond the social conditions of their birth and lucky enough to benefit from the shared wealth of others speaks of the absolutely best aspects of the human spirit. It is a pity that UC's need to reduce athletic scholarships will deny future opportunities to potential students in similar situations.

Pat McClelland, MFA (DAAP) '92
Kettering, Ohio

Editor's reply: Last year, athletics announced it would phase out financial aid for men's track and field/cross country teams, as well as men's swimming and diving, in order to ultimately save more than $400,000 annually and move the department toward a balanced budget. "This was a very difficult decision, but one we felt we had to make in this difficult economic climate," said athletics director Mike Thomas. "While scholarship funding will be eliminated for these sports, the teams themselves and their complement of coaches will continue at UC, leaving open the opportunity that, at some point in the future, financial aid could return."

NASA logo

Overlooked alumnus

While reading your list of famous alumni online, I wondered at the omission of Bruce Blackburn [DAAP '61], who designed the U.S. Bicentennial Symbol. He received the UC Award for Excellence for this effort in 1975 and received the first Outstanding Alumnus Award from DAAP in 1988 for his career's work which, by the way, included the NASA logotype used for 20 years and still with a wide following. This doesn't cover even a fraction of his internationally known identity work.

As an alumna myself, a graphic designer and a former professor of graphic design, I want UC to be seen as an institution that has, for many years, provided a superior education in many fields. That is best done by showcasing the career accomplishments of alumni. It is unfortunate to overlook those who have done such outstanding work that reflects so positively on the education they received there.

Tina Blackburn, DAAP '63
Santa Fe, N.M.

Editor's reply: When a university graduates the caliber of alumni that UC does, I suspect we have overlooked a good 10,000 significant alumni. Maybe more. It's sad, but keeping up with 242,000 living alumni is simply impossible for a staff of three. Consequently, we are thrilled when people like Tina bring names to our attention. It turns out that Bruce also designed Sigma Phi Epsilon's red heart logo and an Absolute vodka logo. We accept people's submissions of overlooked alumni. Recently, we added a new online feature called "Alumni Dream Jobs," accessible from all of our Web pages.

Apple-bagging news

Recently a friend of mine sent me your article about a trip to Japan to watch apple bagging ["Perfect to the Core," April '08] as he knew that my family is involved in orcharding in Washington. I would like to say that it is a fairly common practice that is growing rapidly in Washington state and is not a dying art only from Japan as implied in the article. We have been bagging specialty varieties of apples for about 15 years, though I was young at the time and do not remember exactly when it started.

B.J. Pheasant
Via e-mail

Sperti: Truly great

I just stumbled onto the letter to the editor concerning George Sperti [Eng '23] in the May 2009 magazine. My father, George Rooney, worked for Dr. Sperti from about 1939-43, doing research on agar gels (bacterial culture medium) derived from seaweed. Some of these papers are still in my possession. During my childhood, I remember many stories that my father told of Dr. Sperti. They were consistent with the other letters that appear on your online edition -- that is, George Sperti was a truly great man.

Richard Rooney, A&S '64, MD '67, UC SurgRes '74
Chillicothe, Ohio

Favorite faculty

Connie Ragiel: psychiatric nursing
Connie Ragiel taught several grad courses when I was working on my MSN in psychiatric nursing in the early '80s. She was the first person I encountered at UC who spoke in an honest, down-to-earth manner, addressing subjects and issues at UC and in psychiatric nursing frankly -- warts and all.

She was very dedicated to patient care and looked at all other aspects of psychiatric nursing from the perspective of the patient. She "walked the talk," helping to start a mental-health clinic that took services to the homeless, engaging them on the street in order to make sure that care reached all who needed it. She embodied compassion and passion.

I enjoyed our discussions and appreciated her ability to get one to see each issue from a new perspective, no matter how experienced or knowledgeable that person might already have been. Connie was an inspiration, and I now seek to carry on her tradition with my own nursing students.

Ed Herzog, Nur '83
Northfield, Ohio

Award won

In December, "UC Magazine" won the Gold Medal for Excellence in Feature Writing for a Series from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District V. The award was given for all the feature stories from the May 2009 issue on "Alumni Committed to a Cause." Writers included John Bach, Amanda Chalifoux, Angela Koenig, Curt Whitacre and Deborah Rieselman.

Letters to the editor policy
Letters to the editor must relate to the university, be signed and include addresses, colleges and years of graduation, when applicable. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for length, clarity or factual accuracy and to reject letters of unsuitable content. Letters may not criticize other letter writers. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Cincinnati.