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Letters to the Editor

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

Alice not forgotten

I enjoyed reading about Alice the Bearcat in the April edition of "Cincinnati Horizons." I was also very saddened to learn of her passing.

Do you know if the zoo and/or UC athletic department have plans to acquire another bearcat?

I have attended all UC home football games for many years, and it was always a treat to see Alice walking around Nippert Stadium. Since we will soon be entering the Big East Conference, I think it would be a good idea to have another live bearcat mascot to show-off to visiting teams and to nationwide TV audiences
The article on the UC Marching Band and the tradition of running down the steps was great, too.

Bill Ringshauser, A&S '72, MBA '79

Editor's note: Ringshauser has great timing. This spring, UC student Steve Trepkowski of Sigma Sigma fraternity approached the Cincinnati Zoo with the men's offer to purchase a new UC bearcat and a suitable habitat, preferably near the children's zoo. Fund raising began in earnest at the annual Sigma Sigma May Carnival, the fraternity's traditional means of supporting a gift for the university.

Unfortunately, regular appearances by a live bearcat at UC games are no longer possible due to current zoo policies on animal safety and well-being, as well as public sentiment on how animals should be treated. "That being said, we are more than willing to try and facilitate select appearances," says zoo media manager Chad Yelton, adding that the new bearcat obviously will have to have a "compatible temperament."

For more information on the bearcat project, send a note to Sigma Sigma Fraternity, Bearcat Fund, 15 West Daniels, Cincinnati OH 45219.

Band has Van to thank

Thank you for giving the UC band much-deserved recognition. You obviously did a lot of research to get the article together.

My one disappointment was that you did not give enough recognition to Merrill Van Pelt. It was "Van" who put the UC band on the map as a very lively and innovative halftime "show" instead of the standard military-type marching display.

The first time I marched was in the fall of 1941 when Van had decided to introduce four majorettes. When we came to the edge of the field at the open end of the horseshoe, he hid us in the center of the group, then spread the band out to play a very lively and contemporary fanfare. We then burst out onto the field at a pace of 160 beats per minutes (standard march tempo is 120) and went immediately into a formation showing off the majorettes and featuring a popular song of the day.

That first time, we featured "I'm a Little Teapot" and formed a teapot on the field. Van had done away with the traditional formal march from one formation into another one, which might take several minutes to complete, into a carefully prepared "scramble," which took us into the new formation in exactly eight measures. We all started on the same note and moved into place so quickly that if you blinked, you'd miss it.

We marched down the field playing "I'm a Little Teapot" (the majorettes did a jitterbug routine at midfield), continued down the field, did another eight-measure scramble into the CINCY formation, marched back up the field to do the traditional "Alma Mater," then whizzed off the field leaving the fans breathless, excited and cheering us on. The CINCY formation became the band's trademark -- much the same as the Ohio State script formation in Columbus.

It took careful planning to give each band member exact instructions on how to get from formation A to formation B, then wind up exactly right in eight measures, but we worked it out practicing on the upper football practice field. It was great fun for all of us.

The band created a sensation when we went to Knoxville, Tenn., for the game in 1941. Our football team was supposed to get creamed by a superior "Vol" team, but held its own so well that we came close to actually winning the game. The Tennessee newspapers the next day were full of descriptions of the "near upset," but the band had put on such a spectacular performance that the sports writers actually wrote more about us than they wrote about the game.

For me, it will always be Van who gave the band its greatest traditions and history of excellence. I'm hoping that the "old timers" who read your article will remember him, too.

Nancy VanWye Lodwick, A&S '44
Whitmore Lake, Mich.

Kudos to the staff

Congratulations on the April issue of "Cincinnati Horizons," which I have read with great pleasure. It's a handsome and well-done magazine; you and your staff do an excellent job.

Thanks for all the good work you do.

Michael Griffith
Assistant professor, English

I wanted to make sure I let you know how well I thought Mary Niehaus expressed the excitement of teaching with technology [The evolving classroom], as well as covering the nuts and bolts. It would surprise me if she doesn't win one of those awards for which "Horizons" has become famous!

Malcolm Montgomery
Educational Systems Technologist
Electronic Classroom Planning Services

Deb Rieselman did a great job on the article about the marching band. I appreciated the focus and content of the story. The band does make a good focal point for campus traditions and is a wonderful public relations tool for the university. I really do have a great time working with this kind of student.

Terry Frenz
Bearcat band director


Michael Lieberman is dean of Instructional and Research Computing at UC. The April issue incorrectly called Malcolm Montgomery the manager. Although Montgomery is a manager, he oversees only one portion of IRC, all of which falls under Lieberman.

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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.

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