Letters to the Editor

Our readers respond

The Game lives on

In the future, could you please spare us snooty reports about The Game (“Saving Graces of The Game,” January/February). Your writer seems more intent on telling us his experience of “big-time college football” as a reporter for Sports Illustratedthan accurately reporting the facts of The Game and its aftermath. He tells us that, on the key play of the contest, Yale coach Williams ordered the Elis to “go for it,” omitting the key caveat that the fourth-down play was a fake punt. He also comically suggests that “there are no calls for Coach Williams’s head, no sports-talk radio bloviators attacking him personally, no websites devoted to his firing.” He apparently not only missed the infamous failed fake, but its aftermath, as well!

Charlie Finch ’74
Yorktown Heights, NY


In your recent January/February issue, on page 53, the specific naming of the “reserve cornerback” who may have missed a key block in Yale’s humiliating defeat by Harvard was unnecessary and cruel.

Dulaney Glen ’55
Pfafftown, NC


I read with interest your article about The Game and sidebar about “The Call.”

Your description of the event was well written and captured the spirit of the day, from the antics of the Yale band to the Mory’s tent to a good plug for the benefits of being a student athlete at a fine academic institution. I was troubled, however, by the paragraph stating that Coach Tom Williams “has implied that Yale’s modest facilities inhibit his ability to recruit.” Is he kidding? While it’s true that Yale football players don’t live in separate dorms where they’re served steak every night by white-gloved waiters, the Bowl, in addition to being the most historic football venue in the country, in its reconfigured state is one of the finest. The additions of the Kenney Center and the Jensen Plaza add an air of class to the facility that rivals any other stadium in the country. The Brooks-Dwyer Varsity Weight Room is also state of the art. In fact, I would argue that overall the Yale athletic venue rivals that of any university in the country.

Tom Williams is a class act. He’s at Yale because he understands the value of working with committed athletes who play football for the love of the game and not with an eye for financial success.

While “The Call,” along with “The Tie” of 1968, will rank highly in the annals of unfortunate Yale-Harvard contests, we are very fortunate to have a man of Tom Williams’s class and experience at the helm of our football program.

Christopher Getman ’64
Hamden, CT


Share the wealth

Funny, when I receive my periodic request to donate to Yale, I read about the 100 people that had to be laid off, rising student tuition, or the need to replace lost endowment funds, but no mention is ever made that the president of Yale received a total compensation package of almost $1.2 million the same year of the global financial collapse (“Million-Dollar Man,”January/February). Sorry, Mr. Levin, but that is simply obscene. Perhaps you could explain how it takes less than half of that to run Dartmouth and a little more than half to run Harvard or Stanford. Better yet, please tell me that you personally set aside some of your compensation to pay the full cost of a Yale education for a needy student each year as a “President’s scholar.” That would at least lower your personal compensation to something under a million dollars.

Daniel Broderick ’79JD
Sacramento, CA


LC’s glorious windows

I enjoyed the article by Richard Conniff ’73 (“A Tale of Two Windows,” January/February) and especially the beautiful two-page spread of the glorious Tiffany window, photographed by Mark Morosse. It was fun deciphering the words in the halos of the laconic standing angels. (The ones behind “Religion” seemed odd, reading “Faith,” “Hope” and … “Purity”?—from reading 1 Corinthians 13 at so many weddings, I expected “Charity.”)

Well, after admiring the picture, and returning to it several times, I noticed that there was a central figure hidden down in the page fold. I carefully disassembled the magazine, lifted out the pages and laid them side by side, and there she was, the enigmatic but shining central figure I had almost missed, her wings outspread over the other figures in the center panel, holding a book, hand upraised as if to make a point, her halo reading “Light - Love - Life.” Angels “Faith” and “Purity” see her, and the seated “Inspiration” stretches out his hand to her, but no one else appears to notice.

I shall tape the two sections together and place it over my desk, to admire the stunning colors and composition and study it some more. Thanks again for the lovely and careful reproduction of a marvelous photo.

Don Chatfield ’56
Claremont, CA


I was delighted to read Richard Conniff’s article on the mystery of the Linsly-Chittenden windows, something I had long puzzled about myself. While a history graduate student at Yale in the mid-1980s, I had a part-time job as a minion of the Yale administration, and in that capacity (for reasons I’ve since forgotten) I once had an opportunity to inspect the subterranean storage area where the Clayton & Bell windows were stored. It was an eerie place, with dusty life-sized Victorian memorial sculptures, many cobwebs, and evidence of being a hideout for at least one Yale employee with time on his hands (and a collection of pornography).

But there, too, were the wooden crates with the windows, broken open enough that one could easily see what they were. I hadn’t yet heard about the existence of those windows, but I immediately associated them with the oddly bare staircase in the building above. The one panel I remember particularly, since it related to my field of study, was of Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms. I, too, hope these panels (especially that one!) come to light again and that we can someday rejoice at their reinstallation or display.

R. Guy Erwin ’99PhD
Los Angeles, CA


Corporate shortcomings

As a one-time management employee at the university, I read your editor’s letter “Managerial Yale” (January/February) with interest. It contains a theme that I’ve heard before; that Yale can be just like a corporation. That belief, while easy to adopt, underestimates the richness and complexity of the institution.

There is no doubt that the institution organically resists centralization. When I came to Yale, from a corporation, Yale was described to me as “a series of independent bailiwicks forged together by a common dislike of the parking department.” And it is at Yale where I learned the true meaning of “herding cats.”

During 20 years at the university I saw several waves of initiatives to remake Yale’s managerial infrastructure—usually into someone else’s image. These included pushes to make it like the military, to outsource, or to revamp all internal processes using a software solution. While these were admirable ideas, they sprang from too simplistic a view. I once took an elevator ride with the project manager who was brought in from a corporation to run a “revolutionary” management IT overhaul. I mistakenly asked, “How are things going?” Looking near tears, he replied, “This place is far more complex than we ever thought.”

Yale is not a corporation that makes sodas and snacks or soap powders. Besides its education and research missions it provides healthcare, runs a massive physical plant, and provides a safe, secure environment for its students, faculty, and staff. Each of these efforts has its own operational, legal, and regulatory compliance issues.

Outsourcing, emulating processes used by other organizations, and using new technologies are all valid tools for improving management when properly implemented. But the key to success lies with individual managers themselves and with promoting a culture that encourages cooperation, an institutional view, and institutional solutions.

To encourage this environment, I propose that Yale establish an award for institutional management excellence to the project team or individual manager whose contributions help Yale improve and streamline its management. I further propose that the award be named for Rad Daly ’49, whose institutional perspective and dedication to Yale were legendary. (SeeMilestones.)

John Meickle
Newington, CT

John Meickle is a former associate director of ITS at Yale.—Eds.


A missing college?

I don’t spend much time perusing the alumni magazine. I always, however, read the class notes and the sports stories. In the January/February issue, I started “from the back,” and I was wide awake when I discovered your “Last Look” photo of college and school scarves.

What a neat idea, I thought. I wondered what the Saybrook College scarf looked like. I read and reread the list, but could find no Saybrook scarf! Was this an egregious error of oversight? Was this a deliberate slight by some vengeful sophomore? Has Saybrook been eliminated by radioactive fumes emanating from Yale Station? Are you trying to divert our attention from something else with an ill-conceived stimulus plan? The options are infinite, and not very entertaining. Please explain.

Harry W. Kinsley Jr. ’52
Limerick, ME

Rest assured that Saybrook is still intact—and that it has its own scarf. The Saybrook model is so popular that J. Press had sold out at the time of our photo shoot, and we were unable to find a Saybrugian willing to share one. We left out the scarf from Morse for similar reasons.—Eds.


Yalie density

I have retired and now live in Galisteo, New Mexico—a community of 250 people 23 miles south of Santa Fe. We have four Yale graduates (Joseph Cooper ’55, Richardson Dilworth ’61, Thomas Morin ’68MFA, and me) or 1,600 per 100,000 population! This might qualify us as the most dense community of Yalies in the country—any challengers?

E. Franklin Hirsch ’54, ’55BSE
Santa Fe, NM

A few Connecticut towns have Galisteo beat: Woodbridge (4,400 per 100,000), Guilford (2,393 per 100,000), New Haven (2,214 per 100,000), and Hamden (1,638 per 100,000). Outside the Yale orbit, there’s Princeton, New Jersey, with 3,182 per 100,000.Write us if you think your town is a contender for most Yalie-dense in the country.—Eds.



The appalling statistical graphic accompanying the article“Alumni by the Numbers” in the January/February 2010 issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine is certainly one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m sure my fellow alumni of the Yale statistics department would agree. The angled tilt to the axis of the graph makes it very difficult to determine what the heights of the bars actually are. This is compounded by the faux three-dimensional “tops” added on to each bar, which make it impossible to know for sure what the value being graphed actually is. (For example, was the value for 1975 60 percent, corresponding to the height of the gray bar, or 85 percent, corresponding to the end of the blue top?) Even the order of years on the axis is reversed from usual practice. Indeed, this graphic could have easily been an excellent example of data distortion and “chartjunk” for the classic book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Yale grad and Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science Edward Tufte ’68PhD.

Jeffrey S. Simonoff ’80PhD
New York, NY


Of nicknames

Donald M. Marshman ’45 (Letters, January/February) related former president Kingman Brewster Jr’s (’41) preference for “Elis” vs. “Yalies.” Brewster found the latter nickname “juvenilizes” Yale students.

Some perspective: either nickname beats “Cantab” or “Haardvark.”

Aaron Goldhamer ’04
Denver, CO


The Senility Prayer

My aunt in the Virginia mountains has a different take on the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr ’14BDiv, ’15MA. Perhaps her Senility Prayer, an additional stitch in the linguistic quilt slowly being assembled by fellow American Dialect Society member Fred Shapiro (“You Can Quote Them,”January/February), will be of interest to readers of a certain age:

God grant me the senility
To forget the people
I never liked anyway,
The good fortune
To run into the ones I do,
And the eyesight
To tell the difference.

Peter N. Richardson ’70PhD
McMinnville, OR


Depression memories

I profited greatly from Gaddis Smith’s article “Life at Yale During the Great Depression” (November/December 2009). The account of opportunities missed and old verities ceaselessly repeated is well worth remembering. Among other things, it provides a useful complement to Jerome Karabel’s discussion of admission policies at Ivy League colleges during the 1930s (The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, 2005).

Smith does identify one progressive step in this dreary history: the 1939 faculty committee that recommended major changes in Yale’s employment policies, later accepted by the Yale Corporation. The provost who appointed and oversaw the work of this committee, not named in the printed article, was my grandfather Edgar S. Furniss ’18PhD. Good for him!

Norman Furniss ’66
Bloomington, IN



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