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Letters to the Editor


Foster and favorite faculty

Congratulations for the best issue yet [October 2011, "Mission Complete"]. I view other alumni magazines, and none can hold a candle to yours.

I especially enjoyed the letters about “Finding Phil Foster.” I enjoyed classes with professor Foster and remember him well, especially the bow ties and socks.

One of the letters also mentioned Mr. Quale, Reginald Grooms, Hope Warner and Dr. Balinkin. Those are wonderful professors I studied with.

As I recall, all of our art classes were held in temporary barracks buildings. There were no dorms for men at that time, so housing was in private homes or fraternity houses.

I have not been back to the campus since graduation and can only imagine what the campus is like from the pictures in your publication and Google maps. I am sure I would require a guide in order to avoid getting lost. I hope to be able to visit soon.

Gerald Guy, DAAP ’54
Marion, Ind.


Mary Stewart (center) shares a lunch break with professor Phil Foster and an unknown student around 1972.

I have a photo of Mr. Foster, myself and an art student sitting on the model platform taking a lunch break. He was not only beloved by his students, but we art models loved him, too. I learned so much just listening to him teach. Indeed, he did put his cigarette out in students' paintings and flick his ashes in their dirty water. If he thought a student's painting was poor, he would say it was "from hunger."

Mary Stewart, executive staff assistant
UC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

More about Foster and other favorite faculty

Memories of a champ

The championship memories of Mike Simpson [Bus '63] in the last issue brought to mind this memory:

In March 1963, UC entered the final game of the NCAA basketball championship after having defeated Ohio State in '61 and '62. Three Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers decided to drive to Freedom Hall in Louisville that afternoon to see if we could get into the game against Loyola of Chicago.

We had very little cash among us, and scalpers were illegally hawking the $7.50 tickets (imagine!) for prices as high as $50. (Yes, times have changed.)

We had decided to turn back to Cincinnati when we saw a tall, handsome black man holding forth on the circle drive before a group of young children. "I'm Cassius Clay," he boasted. "I'm beautiful, and I'm going to whomp Sonny Liston."


Muhammad Ali

We recognized him from the 1960 Olympics, and we joined the group. So also did a ticket scalper and a Louisville plainclothes policeman. The scalper asked if we wanted tickets and, with the game now about to start, offered them for their face value. We bought them, the cop congratulated us, and we watched UC lose the national championship to Loyola.

But I’ve always credited Cassius Clay with getting us into the game. And he did, in fact, whomp Sonny Liston in 1964.

To my son Glenn, his father's stories of Cassius Clay (let alone Oscar Robertson) were always lessons in "ancient history." So it was with a sense of pride and appreciation for that day in 1963 that he telephoned me in 1996 after the opening night of the Atlanta Olympics [with Muhammad Ali in the opening ceremony].

Glenn's Denver-based AmeriCorps team had won a performance prize offering a week of low-level security work at the Olympics. He was on a rope line in the bowels of the Olympic stadium on opening night when the elevator doors opened to reveal Muhammad Ali, attired in white, in a golf cart.

Glenn instinctively put out his hand and said, "Hi, champ." Ali said, "Thanks, son," shook his hand, and the cart moved on. It took Glenn a moment to realize that he had just greeted the mystery guest who would rise to the top of the stadium and light the Olympic flame.

Among the indelible images from Barack Obama's inauguration was the sight of Ali, stooped and insentient, being escorted to his seat on the Capitol steps. It revived memories of how Ali touched my life at UC and that of one of my sons.

Robert Fee, A&S '63
UC academic director of A&S undergraduate affairs
Retired senior assistant dean

1970 revisited again

Upon reading the letter in the last issue from Tom Hower [Eng '71, about Vietnam protests], emotions and memories came to me. I remember, at 19 years of age on April 30, 1970, sitting on a bench in the quadrangle watching the march and people shouting at me "apathy" as they walked by. The next day, I sat on the hill overlooking the bridge to the Tangeman center. Protesters were speaking anti-war messages most of the day.

As a first-year pharmacy student, I was overwhelmed. I found out later that the dean would not allow the march to pass through the pharmacy building; senior students were posted at all entry doors by the dean to block movement.

I remember also a short time later being at the fraternity house watching the TV program with the lottery draft. It was a sad time for our great country with students and soldiers losing their lives. However, I was too young then to realize that it was a great time to experience our freedom of speech and how the people of this great nation can make a difference when so many others disliked what they were doing.

I am 60 years old now and glad I did not miss that time in history. Good and bad -- hippies, music, Woodstock, Vietnam War, protests and the college experience -- will forever be in my mind. God bless the U.S.A.

Frank Baldwin, Phar '77


As assistant to the dean in what was then DAA, I was responsible for the general security and physical upkeep of the studio/classroom building. During the period of unrest on campus, a student rally was organized for Burnet Woods on the north side of DAA. Naturally, I was extremely concerned that the "mob" would be taking the shortest route to the site by going through our building.

I remember standing on the "bridge" with a number of DAA students watching the mass of bodies coming toward us. Then several architecture students said, "No one is going to destroy the model projects we’ve been working on all year."

They then formed an arm-linked chain blocking all entrances to the building. That successfully ended any threat to their senior projects -- and our building.

Bill Savely, Bus '57, M (Ed) '72
Delaware, Ohio

Looking at the 1970 videos of UC brought back some very deep memories. I was graduating from UC Law in 1970 and had enlisted in the Air Force, but I was asked by the USAF to take a discharge before beginning my service because I was advised that I had participated in the peaceful protest of the war to downtown Cincinnati.

Apparently there was surveillance. I never associated my opposition to the Vietnam War with anything approaching an act of defiance. Those were very sad and difficult times.

When I look back, I think of how naively self-assured I felt and of my own anger that was directed toward the politics of the day. As I have lived over time, I have spent some time in trying to understand those years of my life, and I look back with some sadness and some pride, but not with anger.

I attended my 30th law school reunion in 2000 and found that I was able to have some closure because I had been unable to say goodbye to the other students and faculty in 1970.

Dan Gendel, JD '70
Belmar, N.J.

Read dozens more memories of UC’s closing in 1970.

More aerospace alumni

I enjoyed the October magazine featuring NASA and activities of UC alumni at the Johnson Space Center. Living in the area, we all know NASA employees, and it’s nice to know UC graduates are among them helping to develop cutting-edge technology and its application in the most difficult of environments.

One of those UC grads is my son Charles Hill [Eng '92] who worked for NASA as a contractor from 1999 to 2010 and since then as a NASA employee. He worked on techniques to repair damaged heat shield tiles and now is working on composite materials that may be used in future space capsules for deep-space exploration.

UC alumni in all walks of life can be proud of those who are a part of NASA's accomplishments. Thanks for your story.

Lauren Hill, Eng '65
Seabrook, Texas

I noticed the list of "10 aerospace grads who took flight" in the latest issue. I would like to indicate one more who should be given recognition.

I graduated in 1959 from what was then called the aeronautical engineering. One of my classmates was Karl Klute, who became an Air Force pilot. He flew in Vietnam, was shot down, and his body was never recovered. If I recall correctly, his wife told me that he had been notified of acceptance into the astronaut program and had been given orders to return after his next mission. Needless to say, he never returned.

Perhaps a separate article could be written for aero graduates who gave their lives so that you and I can enjoy the freedoms we have.

Allan Schanzle, Eng '59, M (A&S) '61, D (A&S) '64
Columbia, Md.

No one knew ...

Congratulations on the exciting and colorful October edition of the magazine, all the way from the breathtaking cover to the photo of Neil Armstrong on the last page. Being a space and astronomy enthusiast and a retired architect, I found several articles to be terrific.

Reading articles dating back to my UC days, it occurred to me that no aeronautical engineers were aware of the fact that an architectural student, myself, was busy working away at his senior thesis for a base on the moon. I was somewhat the laughing stock of my fellow students, all of who were designing various types of “earth” buildings, including a synagogue by one Michael Graves, [DAAP '58, HonDoc '82], I believe. After these 53 years, I still have all but one of the original design boards for the base. Although I contributed nothing to science with the thesis, it sure enlivened my own interest in space and space travel.

Thomas Busemeyer, DAAP '58

See photos of Busemeyer's design

Disjointed aesthetics

My time at UC was well spent. I got an excellent education and grew to have great affection for the school and city. While distance makes it difficult, I try to visit every chance I get.

I agree that the school seems to have made considerable progress in athletics, academics and physical plant. While I see many improvements and some where I can look the other way, I do wish to express a small note of contrarianism.

I get the feeling that buildings seem to be in some architecture contest from hell to see which can be the most outlandish. The problem is there is no “whole,” no symmetry, no continuity. I do not advocate sameness, but the stark slap in the face from disjointed and the unrelated seems to praise the bizarre rather than any concept of overall design aesthetics.

While I marvel at the football team on national TV, I always cringe at the stark white Lindner building with heavy crosshatched X's looming over lovely Nippert. The student union addition is so glaring, inside and out, as to remind me of a shopping mall food court. And while I like the added open space, I wish it had a more organic feel and not as if it were part of an office park.

The great defenders of the anything-new-is-perfect crowd will scream in indignation, but if they are open-minded and introspective, they may see the point, at least in part.

Russ Roach, M (A&S) '71
Tulsa, Okla.

Design seriously flawed

Letters about the Sander Hall implosion were interesting; however, I was upset that UC archivist Kevin Grace brushed off comments that it was known, even before construction, the building was unsuitable for human habitation. The architect’s design of Sander Hall was seriously flawed, I believe.

When the plans were reviewed by the Cincinnati Fire Department and the Cincinnati Building Department in 1968, both departments ruled that the building did not meet fire codes and building codes. Rather than changing the design to make the building safe, the architect and top UC officials went to city hall and requested that city council grant an emergency ordinance for a waiver from the codes. In a 1991 newspaper article, professor Ahment Aktan stated the dormitory lacked fire safety and had unsafe engineering design.

Sander Hall was an expensive lesson for Cincinnati.

Herb Pahren, Eng '52

Editor’s note: The emergency ordinance basically enabled UC to construct the hall with non-operative windows because "opening of windows in the structure would present a safety hazard in a building of such height and would interfere with and defeat the operation of the force fresh air ventilating system," the ordinance stated. City council also placed additional safety regulations on UC, then petitioned the state to add those safeguards to the state building code, which already permitted non-operative windows. In addition, city council agreed to change the City Building Code to allow the same type of construction in similar buildings, as reported in the News Record on Jan. 27, 1970.

In the 1991 article, civil engineering professor Ahment Aktan claimed that Sander Hall was constructed in a method that had been used in more than one-fourth of buildings standing 10-30 stories tall in the Midwest and Eastern United States -- a method in which floor slabs would pile on top of each other if a gas explosion occurred in the basement or a runaway truck hit the building.