Letters to the Editor Autumn 2019

100 Ducks...And Counting

As an alumnus, I was proud to read the profile of each honoree in “100 Ducks Who Made a Difference” (Summer 2019). But I cannot understand the omissions of UO presidents Dave Frohnmayer, Richard Lariviere, Robert Clark, and Arthur Fleming. Such a list has to include UO visionary donors Phil and Penny Knight, Robert and Beverly Lewis, and Lorry Lokey. Another glaring omission is Geraldine Richmond, long-time professor of chemistry, winner of the National Medal of Science.

David Jensen, JD ’69

Vida, Oregon

Enjoyed reading about people on this list—learned about so many interesting Ducks! Was glad one of my favorite educators, Hill Walker, was recognized for his amazing contributions to education and children. But . . . no Phil Knight?!? Not just for what he has done for the UO but, more importantly, how he has changed the state of Oregon. Nike has impacted our economy with their massive job creation and money in local and state economy for decades.

Cathy Schneider, BS ’76 (curriculum and instruction)

Eugene, Oregon

Your smug bragging of leaving Phil Knight off your list of “100 Ducks” who made a difference is an insult to not only Phil Knight but to the thousands of alumni who have admired this remarkable man. In the early days of Nike, he and his partner, Bill Bowerman, got American couch potatoes onto their feet and into the streets, jogging. It was a massive, worldwide, culture-changing phenomenon. His generous contributions of millions of dollars to cancer research will contribute to the ultimate cure that will someday come and change the lives of untold millions.

Bill Landers, BS ’54 (history)

Portland, Oregon

I read with interest your feature story on “100 Ducks Who Made a Difference,” after which I pondered why Steve Prefontaine was not—apparently—enough of an innovator, game-changer, or inspiration to be included.

David Haugen, PhD ’69 (speech)

Spokane, Washington

How could Victor Atiyeh, two-term Oregon governor (1979–1987) and the first Arab American elected governor, not be included?

Dan Lavey, BA ’88 (history)

Portland, Oregon

How’d you leave out Steve Cannell, BS ’64 (journalism), who was a giant among screenwriters with such hits as The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Magnum, P.I.; John Dahlem, BS ’65 (history), who, with his son, was the oldest father-son combo to climb Mount Everest; and Les Palm, BS ’66 (anthropology), a major general in the US Marine Corps and publisher of the Marine Corps Gazette?

Lewis Abramson, BS ’67 (journalism)

Maryville, Tennessee

Thank you for including Ray Hawk in “100 Ducks Who Made a Difference.” In 1977, I was hired to manage half of what was then called UO Family Housing. My position and that of a fellow manager were created after there was a very public rent strike. The first couple of months on the job were challenging. One of the things I did was create a newsletter with the help of residents. At that time Ray was the vice president for administration and finance. That fall, Ray had his hands full with major funding issues, along with the regular demands of his position. Yet he took the time to send me a note telling me how much he enjoyed the newsletter. He wrote that it was just the kind of thing that was needed to rebuild the residents’ trust and confidence in the housing department. That was Ray—taking the time to write an encouraging note to an entry-level administrator. I never forgot that, and throughout my higher education administrative career at the UO and Stanford I made a habit of writing many notes just like his. He was a great role model and a genuinely good man.

Suzanne Tamiesie, BS ’74 (psychology), MS ’87
(educational policy and management)

Lake Oswego, Oregon

I just finished reading about the “100 Ducks Who Made a Difference.” I read with poignant personal interest about Dr. Albert Starr, who performed a number of medical firsts in Oregon. One that really hit home with me was that he performed the first successful open-heart pediatric surgery in 1958. Alas, that pioneering event came too late for my brother, who was born with a heart defect and passed away as a baby in 1952. One of the saddest days of my adult life was when I was tidying up my deceased mother’s papers and came across a letter she wrote to a surgeon in Portland, asking if there was anything that could be done to help her son. The doctor had to tell her there was nothing that could help my brother. It was great to learn about a fellow Duck whose pioneering work made life infinitely better for children needing open heart surgery, even though my brother was not able to benefit.

Evan Mandigo, BS ’67 (general social science)

Bismarck, North Dakota

Counting Conservative Faculty Members

Dave Bowman is unreasonable if he expects a university fundraiser to be able to rattle off the names of 10 “conservative” teachers any more than 10 “liberal” ones (Letters, Summer 2019). If Mr. Bowman believes that teachers should reflect modern conservative dogma, I hope he would find none of it at the UO. Many modern conservatives believe that climate change is a plot foisted on them by evil scientists, that deficit spending can continue unchecked, and that corporations have the same rights as humans. Advocacy of these has no place at the UO or other publicly funded institutions of higher learning.

James Clark
La Cañada Flintridge, California

Bowman’s assertion that a liberal arts institution such as UO is somehow obliged to provide for what he considers an adequate percentage of “conservative” professors before he’ll contribute a donation is unfortunately an echo of many such laments by conservatives who conflate a predominance of liberal opinion with an unfair, unbalanced, or even seditious education. I challenge him and others of his opinion to provide the rest of us with the proof of this assertion.

Joe Hlebica, BA ’77 (English)

San Diego, California

I too get calls and letters for funds to support various programs at the UO. I never thought about the political views (conservatives or not) of my professors during my two stints at the university. I wanted to learn and be treated well, and I got that. I don’t think one political view makes a better professor over the other.

Jagdish Grewal, MS ’66 (education), MA ’70 (counseling)

Damascus, Oregon

What an important letter from Dave Bowman in your summer 2019 issue. I consider myself an old-fashioned liberal. Like Mr. Bowman, I am incredulous at the lack of political diversity on campus. The intolerance of the left is breathtaking. Of course, very few professors will admit conservative leanings. They will lose tenure and employment, and possibly [face] harassment outside their homes. Liberals should realize their enemy is not conservatives, but the far left.

John Huson, BA ’76 (history)

Long Beach, California

In reference to Dave Bowman’s letter in the summer 2019 issue, I usually only need to ask the caller to name one conservative faculty member.

Bill Vandling, BS ’64 (general science)

Vista, California

Editor’s Note: In response to a reader’s concern, Oregon Quarterly reviewed its inclusion, in the 100 Ducks feature, of a quote from K. K. Kubli, alumni association president in 1919. Kubli was a member of, and advocate for, the Oregon Ku Klux Klan, according to historians. Some historians describe the Klan of this period as mainly anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant, rather than a group prone to violence against African Americans. OQ removed the quote from the website version of this story. We regret failing to thoroughly review Kubli’s history and appreciate having the matter brought to our attention.

CORRECTION: The degree of author Miles Wilson, MFA ’68 (creative writing), was misstated in the Bookmarks section of the summer issue.

We want to hear from you. Submit your letters at OregonQuarterly.com, by email to quarterly@uoregon.edu, or by mail to Editor, Oregon Quarterly, 5228 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-5228. Published letters may be edited for brevity, clarity, and style.