Letters to the Editor

Summer 2016

Career change is well articulated in “Right Livelihoods” (Spring 2016). Career change was not always acknowledged as an appropriate remedy for employment malaise. Indeed, the notion of “giving up” a job was seen as aberrational at best, mentally ill — insane — at worst. In the ’70s when I was a career counselor, work certified [one’s] status as an honorable citizen. Absent this confirmation brought self-assessment of disgrace and socially raised eyebrows. Ironically, it was the extent of unemployment at that time that brought about tolerance for being out of work and nurturance of career change as an acceptable strategy.
I am pleased to have a special relationship to career counseling at Grinnell. The College’s first career counselor spent a week training with me.
 

- Stephen Fischer ’53

I had just finished a phone discussion with one of my daughters regarding my participation in the 1976 Iowa caucuses, when I opened the Winter 2015 The Grinnell Magazine. While 40 years have grayed my hair and thickened my waistline (just a bit), I think I recognized myself in the picture on the inside front cover, second row, kinda slumped over, ready to listen to Governor Carter. Finally, a bit of proof that at least one of “Dad’s college stories” has some legitimacy!

Carroll McKibbin ’60’s piece on the caucuses was terrific and a wonderful reminder of the political arguments I had with Jim Strickler ’78 and Jack Dane ’79, as well as all the fabulously interesting small towns we visited during the campaign.

Thanks for a great edition. Please keep up the good reporting and interesting articles.
 

- Dan Finkelman ’77

I was appalled by the letter in the spring issue of The Grinnell Magazine
saying: “How disgusting!” it was to have a photo of Jimmy Carter on the
cover of the previous issue.

Is that what our political dialogue has come to?

- Alan Goldfarb ’52

Your “Letters” section (Liz Rosen Kroin ’80) reminded me of a cartoon from the fall of 1976 that appeared in The S&B. The caricature was Jimmy Carter smiling. The line below read: “What do Grinnell College and Jimmy Carter have in common? A Georgia Dentel problem.”

Can you please forward to her and let her know that I too remember those days?
 

- Cornell Rudov ’79

As the chair of the committee that proposed the [Mentored Advanced Project] MAP program to the Fund for Excellence during the Osgood administration, I was delighted with “The Essence of Inquiry” focus in the spring 2016 issue. I realize that the subject is too big to cover in a single issue so I look forward to further treatment of the range of MAPs done in the social studies and humanities divisions. We too produce and publish new knowledge.

Many of my student collaborators, for example, have been presenters or co-presenters at one, or preferably two, professional conferences. They also co-author journal articles, book chapters, and newspaper articles. Some of our papers even win prizes from professional organizations.

[The article] plausibly contends that MAPs are one reason why “Grinnell ranks seventh among all private and public national institutions for graduating students who go on to earn Ph.D.s.” This kind of research collaboration is one of the reasons that the Department of Anthropology, among other Grinnell social studies departments, is so highly ranked, third among national institutions for graduating students who go on to earn Ph.D.s in anthropology.

Thanks for the good start to the story of MAP research collaboration at Grinnell.

- Doug Caulkins, professor emeritus of anthropology and director emeritus of the Wilson Program in Enterprise and Leadership

My copy of the spring Grinnell magazine arrived today, and I have read it cover to cover. The magazine keeps improving, and this one had many of the features I have been hoping for for a long time including small bios of those who have passed on.

- Judy Mahle Lutter ’61

Spring 2016

I was the SGA [Student Government Association] social coordinator my senior year starting in the fall of 1976. Pat Irwin ’77
 and the late Dan Hexter ’77 were concert chairmen, and we managed a robust budget of $37,500 for the year to book bands for South Lounge parties, cultural weekends, and in Roberts Theatre. Georgia Dentel was an absolute genius at stretching that budget and getting acts at incredible prices. If Dan and Pat wanted a band, Georgia would not only book that concert for Grinnell, she would create a mini-tour for the band at two other colleges, get a reduced price for us, and of course mandate that our show would be on Saturday night. Her strategy for booking groups when they were on the cusp of stardom was legendary, and her network of former Grinnell students in the business, agents, and people she charmed provided her edge. 

But that is not even half of the story. I spent hours and hours on the phone with Georgia discussing politics, classes, music, and my family. She remembered every detail, and at graduation time I really wanted her to meet my dad. Georgia rarely met with us in person but finally agreed on her terms, sitting behind the wheel in her vintage 1964 Ford Falcon for a fast getaway.

I remember the open forum in September of 1976 well, as I spoke on her behalf representing the SGA. I said, “Georgia Dentel plays an integral role in shaping the ‘Grinnell Experience.’ Her dedication to the College and its students’ education cannot be distilled to a line item in a budget.”

- Robert Render ’77

Could someone compile a chronology of everyone Georgia Dentel brought to Grinnell and publish it in the magazine? I loved the story about her, although my faith in humanity took another hit when I learned she was almost fired once and was reduced to part-time once.

- Liz Rosen Kroin ’80

I enjoyed the Bob Greenberg ’80 memory in the “Prompted” section of your Winter 2015 Grinnell Magazine edition about The Police playing in the old Darby as the “hottest band in New Wave” at that time. Little remembered is that The Police that 
night were a mere warm-up band for another New Wave band, Ultravox, a band still in place today. Great times!

- Mark McAllister ’81

As a political junkie, I was excited to read the article in the [Winter 2015] magazine about the development of the Iowa caucuses as a force to be reckoned with and the participation by Grinnellians in them over the years. I remember being encouraged to attend the 1984 caucus by my political science professor and delighted in seeing democracy in action, as well as several of my instructors all gravitating toward the candidates I had hunches they would.

The magazine article seemed to focus preponderantly on Republican candidates and activists, which seemed a mite strange to me, as I recall the campus, even during the Reagan landslide reelection year, as being overwhelmingly Democratic. I realize that such was not always the case, and it warmed my heart to see President Jimmy Carter adorning the cover of the magazine, and to my recollection much of the recent political history of the scarlet and black has been solidly blue. Were there no alumni actively involved in Democratic politics? I shudder to think of the Grinnell Left as abandoning its verve.

 

- John Wetterholt ’86