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Mail Bag

Fall 2005

Regarding “World Views Retires,” as the parent of a Willamette graduate [Shannon Leinbach ’95], I wanted you to know how World Views impacted both of us. In ’91 when I brought our daughter to Salem, we bought two sets of the books for World Views: Latin America. As a high school English teacher, I realized I had no background in this literature. Not only were we both able to discuss all the books, but I took a class at Stanford to add to hers. I have since been able to hear one of the authors, Rigoberta Menchu, speak. So you can see how more than students benefited.

Regarding “Headed West: Willamette and the City of Salem Share a Growing Vision,” perhaps the revitalization of the city, along with the sphere of influence Willamette will exert, will keep parents local during Parents Weekend instead of feeling compelled to go into Portland.

Sue Fialer
Palo Alto, Calif.

“Motto Fuels ‘Lasting’ Effort”
I was excited to read about WU’s initiative toward sustainability through WEST. When I came to WU in the mid-1970s, the Nutrition Awareness Program (NAP) and Alternative Futures Program were introducing practices of sustainability to small segments of the campus community. It is encouraging to see the values of sustainability move throughout the whole campus, and high time! Kudos to you!

Annette Bader ’81
Clinton, Wash

Winter 2006

“On the Shoulders of Giants”
The fall issue of The Scene was definitely an exciting one. Willamette seems to be changing and growing daily thanks to President Pelton’s master plan, and it seems as though not a day goes by without an article mentioning Willamette in the Statesman Journal. Fifty miles north in Portland, however, Willamette’s presence is painfully absent.

How has “the first University in the West” failed to establish itself in Oregon, the Northwest, the West Coast, the U.S.? How have schools such as Pomona, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Reed and Whitman achieved greater regional and national visibility? Willamette’s return to Portland (it originally had a medical school in what is now the Pearl District, right next to the I-405 on-ramp, marked by a plaque) with an MBA program was therefore pretty exciting. Hundreds if not thousands of Portlanders would finally be able to recognize Willamette as an institution and not just a geographical reference. But as I walk to work or ride the streetcar past the MBA location on 11th and Burnside, I still see no sign of Willamette’s presence. It’s there, I’m told… somewhere. Why is there no sign? Right now, people who walk past 11th and Burnside have no idea they’re walking past a great school. It’s a shame, and it’s a great location.

Confirming what the Fiske Guide to Colleges had to say, Willamette is indeed one of the best kept secrets in the country. Unfortunately, it’s also a best kept secret only 50 miles away.

Seiji Hara ’04
Portland, Ore.

Just a note to say how much I enjoyed the last issue of the Willamette Scene. The struggles of the early organizers followed by those of Dr. Smith, and then the comments and stories about recent graduates and their ideas and contributions all tie together to make the story really hit home.

My term at Willamette was during the depths of the Depression, 1933-37, and I know our presidents—Dr. Carl Doney and then Dr. Bruce Baxter—struggled to keep everything right-side up, and of course old Professor Mathews, who often led the daily chapel services at Waller Hall, was a legend even then. My tuition each semester, as a minister’s son, was only $40—mere pocket change today. As manager of the 1936 Wallulah, we sold full page ads (to the few who could afford them) for $0.25, and my board and room at the Sigma Tau fraternity house on Oak Street was $18.75 per month. It would have been $10 more, but I elected to skip lunch.

My only criticism of this issue is the skimpy comments about alumni from the ’30s. Some of us are no longer around, but I like to think we still count.

After Willamette I received my MS in entomology from OSC and my PhD from Ohio State. So far as I know, I am the only entomologist from Willamette, and I recall with much pleasure my guidance from Prof. Cecil Monk.

Keep up the good work.

Ely M. Swisher ’37
Doylestown, Pa.

Editor’s Note: In making choices about which Willamette “giants” to portray, we at The Scene knew we would not be able to include all those worthy of mention. We meant no slight to the alumni from the ’30s or any other generation, and we hope our variety of coverage is of interest to all our readers.