Letters to the Editor
Remembering Denham Sutcliffe
I was happy to read in the Bulletin about the Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture Fund ("A New Fund Honors Denham Sutcliffe," Winter 2004). Dr. Sutcliffe's kindnesses to me were many, and I am happy to report that I have been able to pass this kindness on to others.
As I neared graduation from Kenyon in 1962, I thought I might like to work in journalism. I told Dr. Sutcliffe this during one of our many conversations about my future. He said that he was friendly with Edwin Canham, who was the editor of the Christian Science Monitor at the time. Dr. Sutcliffe offered to write to him on my behalf, and I gratefully accepted.
On my way down from Dr. Sutcliffe's third-floor office, I remembered one more thing that I needed to ask him and headed back up the stairs. I found him at his typewriter, already writing his promised letter to Canham.
I ended up becoming an academic and have spent most of my career teaching literature and composition in Seattle community colleges. Many students and junior colleagues have come to me in need of letters of recommendation. A procrastinator in almost every other task in life, I have made it a point of honor in memory of Dr. Sutcliffe to always write such letters immediately.
I received many other gifts from Dr. Sutcliffe, less tangible but much more precious. I can only hope I've managed to pass some of them along to others. My check to the fund is in the mail.
--Michael Kischner '62
I was happy to see the photo of Denham "Denny" Sutcliffe in the Bulletin.
In 1976, while working as editor-in-chief at New Stratford Encyclopedia, I received a job application from Sarah Sutcliffe who, I noted, was a graduate of Mount Vernon High School. Could it be? I looked up Denny's obit in the New York Times and, sure enough, he had a daughter named Sarah. Here, in part, is what I wrote to her:
"I once portrayed your father on stage. It was a student musical called The Kenyon Revue, directed by and starring Paul Newman. As Dr. Chalkcliffe, I had one line: 'Upon your fourth cut, you will be elected out of the course with the grade of F.'
"This was his direct quotation; your father never carried out the threat, however, for the simple reason that his classes were too interesting for anyone to cut.
"'Denny 100,' your father's seminar for senior English majors, was the most rewarding course I ever had, which isn't a bit surprising considering the teacher. Although it has been more than ten years since his death, I still remember the sense of loss I felt upon hearing the news."
I am happy to see that the life and work of Denny Sutcliffe will continue to be honored through the Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture Fund at Kenyon.
--Douglas Downey '51
Praise and appreciation
Thank you for doing such a fine job with Dan Peterson's obituary in the Winter 2004 issue of the Bulletin. His friends appreciate it. Editors rarely get the credit they deserve. The publication on the whole is very, very impressive. I'm a publisher and I know the amount of work that's put in to such an effort. I love the photo of Laura Donnelly '78 on the cover.
--John McIntosh '78
I just got back from New York and found the new issue of the Bulletin (Winter 2004). I've yet to fully digest it (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun), but I love the idea. It's an awesome issue! I'd love to see a food event happen in San Francisco when President Nugent comes next fall.
--Neil Penick '94
I got my copy of the Bulletin (Winter 2004) in the mail this week, and it is one of the best yet. The features are compelling and lively, and the briefs are snappy. And the photography, as always, is beautiful. As a corporate publications editor, I live and breathe the kind of maddening attention to detail and, in many cases, diplomacy, that publications like this require. A ton of alumni and corporate publications cross my desk, and I'd say that Kenyon's is certainly among the finest of its kind. Hats off to the staff!
--Conan H.W. Kisor '95
Pleased about the "Palate"
I enjoyed reading "Pleasing the Palate" in the Winter 2004 Bulletin. I especially enjoyed catching up on my old friend and DKE fraternity brother Tony Ridgway. While fumbling through some old photographs, I found the enclosed photo that was taken on the west wing patio of Old Kenyon in 1965 or 1966. Tony is the one grilling the steaks, of course. I had the pleasure of spending a week with Tony in Naples several years ago, and I spent many wonderful hours at the Chef's Garden. I heartily recommend Tony's culinary expertise to all--even his steaks.
--Jeremiah S. Miller '67
Living with the impact of Vietnam
Thanks for printing, and thanks to former chaplain Donald Rogan for researching and writing, "Vietnam and the Shootings at Kent State" in the Winter 2004 Bulletin. It made me catch my breath. Has the wheel of time turned so far, so fast?
To nibble the prose of Professor Rogan's thorough, sequential account of the seething events of the 1969-1970 academic year was mighty different from being there, and I applaud the daunting attempt of mere words to evoke a period so emotionally and psychologically intense. For thirty years, members of the Class of 1970 have lived with the impact of the national events that took place during our senior year. They left a permanent mark and a powerful sense of camaraderie with those who were there and "got it." It also left a lifelong distrust of the System, the Combine (Ken Kesey's word), and the Military/Industrial/Labor Union Complex (George Wald's phrase).
Beyond issues of race, class inequality, and environmental degradation, the System was responsible for the Vietnam War, the Cambodian Incursion, the military draft lottery, and the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State. Working within the System seemed absurd then, and I question it daily now, knowing how much more imaginative, intelligent, and compassionate our society could be with just a little more kind and courageous leadership.
A nationally syndicated editorial by Rowland Evans and Robert Novak ran on Saturday, May 16, 1970. Its opening read: "GAMBIER--Tense and dramatic days last week on the normally pastoral campus of Kenyon College here revealed the extent of the crisis for liberal education in America under even the best of conditions."
To amplify Professor Rogan's article, I encourage you to reprint that editorial. It addresses enormous issues that Kenyon students of the late 1960s, and I hope of every succeeding class, consider on a daily basis.
--J. Pell Osborn '70
A dim view on Medusa
So the new Chihuly chandelier has been described as "a baroque and radiant Medusa of a light fixture" ("Chihuly Chandelier Gleams Over Storer," Winter 2004). I don't think that quite captures its essence, although "Medusa," with its connotation of "hideous," is not far off the mark. How about "the mess that fell out of the bait-can" or "what the glass cat threw up"? Those descriptions seem a little more apt. Hope you kept the receipt.
--Jim Kraft '76
The Winter 2004 Bulletin named several exceptional female swimmers in a story about Ashley Rowatt ("Within My Reach: Ashley Rowatt '03 named NCAA Woman of the Year"). Jennifer A. Carter '93 was incorrectly identified as Jennifer Carter-Hahl '93. Both of the women graduated from Kenyon in 1993, but Carter-Hahl was not a swimmer.
To our letter writers
The Bulletinwelcomes letters of three hundred or fewer words. Letters to the editor may be used for publication unless the author states the letter is not to be published. Letters may be edited for style, length, clarity, grammar, and relevance to Kenyon issues. Please address submission to: Editor, Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, Office of Public Affairs, Gambier, Ohio 43022. Letters may also be submitted to email@example.com. Letters for the Summer 2004 issue must be received by June 15.
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