Letters to the Editor Spring 2021

Singing Bailey’s Praises

I was so happy to read about Robert Bailey (“Friends in ‘O’ Places”) in the winter 2021 issue. I had the pleasure of knowing Bob as we took music classes together. What a sweet and talented man. He used to sit down at the piano in the EMU and in no time, a crowd would gather. I knew that he went on to sing backup for Wynonna Judd, but I had no idea he was performing with Garth Brooks. What a great success story!

Deborah Mitchell, BMus ’78 (music education)
Coburg, Oregon

Damian Foley’s “Friends in ‘O’ Places” (Winter 2021) brought back wonderful memories for me and my wife. Yes, we are Garth Brooks fans. To celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary, we were among the 60,000 at Autzen and just 10 yards from the stage. What a bonus thrill to have UO alum Robert Bailey perform “Shout!” Yes, the crowd did erupt and Autzen was never the same that night. Bailey made all Ducks proud.

Craig Weckesser, BS ’64 (journalism)
Olympia, Washington 

Boyd a Force for Academia

I appreciated your tribute to Bill Boyd in the winter 2021 issue. In 1978 my family moved to Eugene when my dad became UO’s vice president for university relations. Bill was the tall, imposing, quietly gentle personification of wisdom to me. The Simic family spent a lot of time with Bill (always, informally “Bill”) because Dad’s job required it, they enjoyed each other’s company and, because Bill was single, my mom was often the university’s official hostess at donor events.

Bill was an inspired orator, just as later President Dave Frohnmayer would be, and still maintained his Southeast coast pronunciation of particular words. Dad kept copies of Bill’s speeches for the beauty of the language and quoted him often. Today, I have a couple of those speeches tucked into a file where they’ve stayed with me for almost 40 years. Bill is the originator of my favorite quote, that I often use to explain what inspires my career in university fundraising and the nobility of supporting higher education:

“Scholarship and philanthropy are each, separately, among the most powerful forces at work shaping the future of our society. In combination, they may be unsurpassed in their capacity to improve the human condition.” 

No one’s ever said it better.

Laura Simic, BA ’86 (public relations)
Boise, Idaho

Amazed, Touched, and Inspired

I admired the fine publishing work evident in the winter 2021 number. It is rare for any magazine I receive to amaze (as did news of the world’s smallest milling machine said to be found in the beautiful, mysterious new building across Franklin Boulevard), to touch (as did Brian Trapp’s moving essay), and to inspire (as did Emily Halnon’s report on the doings of an old friend from law school, Barney Mann). Thank you to the Quarterly staff for your work.

Frank Gibson, JD ’79
Eugene, Oregon

Design Flaw in Story?

In the winter 2021 issue of Oregon Quarterly, the article entitled, “Tour de Force,” by Ed Dorsch, described many of the design elements of the new Knight Campus that he observed on his tour with Robert Guldberg. Mr. Dorsch described glowingly how the building was designed to support the goals and fulfill the needs of the people working within it. Unfortunately, he never mentioned any of the designers or architectural firms responsible for the design innovation he witnessed. In fact, the only designer credited in his article was Professor Richard Taylor, for the carpet he designed on the bottom floor.

This may not seem important to most but good design does not grow on trees. It requires hours of effort, creativity, thought, trial, technical input, experimentation, testing, and review. A process of collaboration with consultants, manufacturers, and, of course, the stakeholders the facility will serve. When the designers are not mentioned that effort is taken for granted. That shouldn’t happen when the subject of the article is a building.

For the record, the design was a partnership between Ennead Architects, New York, and Bora Architects, Portland, and no doubt utilized the talents of people trained by the School of Architecture & Environment at the university served by Oregon Quarterly.

Steve Parker, BArch ’83
San Leandro, California

Editor’s note: The inside cover of the winter issue credited designers Ennead Architects of New York and Bora Architects of Portland, and builder Hoffman Construction of Portland.

Creating a wonderful new campus building requires more than just one wealthy man. Dozens of architects and engineers—many of them trained at the U of O—labor for years on the design. Hundreds of skilled craftspeople—many educated at the U of O—work for the contractors who built the “exhilarating environment.” Yet your publication consistently neglects to mention any of these contributions when you write about new campus buildings. Your paean to the new Knight Campus is a case in point. I look forward to future articles recognizing the many hands that work to improve the university campus and education.

Robert Drucker
Seattle, Washington

Dearth of Diversity

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are in the conversation everywhere these days, and rightly so. I’m pleased to see the magazine continue to address it in various ways. But perhaps the discussion is not happening at the top at the University of Oregon. I see in the magazine masthead that only three of the top 11 administrators are women, and two are “interim.” Seems a little out of balance these days.

Patricia Squire, BS ’67 (journalism)
Lake Oswego, Oregon

Another Side to Genocide

The famous passages of the Declaration of Independence are included in the first part, or body, of the document. Following this is a long list of grievances against King George III. One grievance reads, “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured (sic) to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction, of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

The warfare on the American frontier wasn’t one-sided, as posited in Jeffrey Ostler’s book (Surviving Genocide, Winter 2021). It was a brutal struggle, with atrocities on both sides. Indians on the war path wiped out entire towns in New England during King Philip’s War in the 17th century.

Philip Ratcliff, BA ’79 (journalism)
Salem, Oregon

A Positive Perspective?

Unfortunately, I will have to agree with Anthony Traglio, BA ’76, (Winter 2021) that the Quarterly has fallen into the trap of “Progressive thought” rather than take an educated look at the issues and present articles on both sides—Liberal and Conservative! So much for an education that teaches UO students “critical thinking” . . . how SAD!

You have come to publish only on “thought that exhumes the negative” . . . rather than “focus on the positive”!

As a UO grad who moved to San Diego and had a quite successful business career in sales, I ask you: How successful would I have been if I “focused only on the negative”? Perhaps these students need to spend three months in another country and get a taste of the average citizen’s lifestyle—for example in Thailand or Cambodia. Perhaps they would return to the USA with a “renewed sense of appreciation” for the world of opportunity offered in the USA!

Robert McCarty, BA ’73 (elementary education)
San Diego, California

Doing Right by Her Dad

I just finished reading the autumn 2020 edition of Oregon Quarterly and as usual, found it relevant and interesting. My father, Dick Nooe, was a U of O alumni and Phi Beta Kappa graduate in 1957, after losing his sight in the Korean War in 1953. He passed away in 2018. However, I have not been able to bring myself to cancel the subscription, since the features are so enjoyable and bring to mind the stories my father always told about his college experiences. He found the environment to be so supportive of a person who was blind and had many funny stories about his life with Theta Chi fraternity. He had started at the U of O, I believe, in 1950, but found that after being a star football player in his small high school, he was just a “little fish” on the university football team. The Korean War was on and he joined the Marines. He was raised in Redmond, Oregon, and although he left the state after graduation, he instilled in his family a love of all things Oregon. We continue to visit every five years and Eugene is one of our favorite places.

I want to add that my father was a feminist before his time and he would have been so proud to see the inclusive nature of OQ and the way it keeps systemic racism and other social justice issues at the forefront. Keep up the wonderful work!

Marikathryn Nooe Oakley
Neenah, Wisconsin

We want to hear from you. Submit your letters by email to quarterly@uoregon.edu, at OregonQuarterly.com, 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.