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Purple Prime Time
I always enjoy reading Northwestern magazine but found your recent issue — particularly Jenny Hontz's article "Purple Prime Time" [spring 2004] — especially interesting since my son will be graduating from the School of Communication in June with a major in RTVF.
With great optimism but little know-how he intends to join the next wave of "Northwestern aliens" who invade L.A. hoping to land jobs in the entertainment industry.
Just a quick note to mention that my brother, Jeff Pinkner (C87), also works in the TV industry, as executive producer and writer for Alias. Though he would be mortified to know that I wrote, because he is very humble, I thought his success should not go unnoticed!
Stephanie Pinkner Ahern (SESP90, GSESP92)
"Purple Prime Time" features alumni who have achieved prestige, but not excellence. Of the many examples in the article, the most disappointing is Mara Brock Akil. She may be a talented, witty and intelligent person, but apparently she lacks honesty. Akil says that "she had 'no real dilemma' about lying on her résumé to land a job," which is bad enough, but it is worse to think that Northwestern is not ashamed to have her brag about it to its alumni.
How would we feel about a high school student who lies to get into Northwestern? Or a professor who lies on his résumé to get a teaching position?
In the past I have contributed to the University but have become convinced that it is better to give to individual organizations within the University community that still represent the ideals for which Northwestern was founded.
M. Lynn Pisaniello (WCAS82)
I read "Purple Prime Time" with great interest, glad that Northwestern grads still dominate the field of entertainment. I did not see any mention of my old friend and fraternity brother, Ken Kwapis (C78), whose directing credits include ER episodes and several films.
Jim Gittelson (WCAS76)
Chicago Lucky to Have Lois
Northwestern grads are the type of people who are likely to be concerned about community development and to have the contacts necessary to implement programs.
The article on Lois Weisberg ["Chicago 's Culture Queen," spring 2004] makes us aware of the successful efforts of one city and can help "spread the word" to other communities. I plan to share this article with Vision 2010 people in Youngstown, Ohio.
In addition, I have a personal reason for appreciating the article. Our son is a junior at Northwestern. His "thing" is drama and poetry. I want him to read about Ms. Weisberg and, if he gets excited about the Department of Cultural Affairs, try to make an appointment to meet with her, not even so much in regard to working in the department in Chicago, but just to open his eyes to that type of career in any geographic location.
Linda Ro (WCAS65)
Anne Taubeneck's article on Lois Weisberg was a delightful addition to one we have by Malcom Gladwell from the New Yorker.
How lucky Chicago is to have a woman like this!
Ruth S. Wyler-Plaut (WCAS48)
The spring 2004 issue was a winner in many respects.
In my case, the feature "Chicago's Culture Queen" was of personal interest with its updated history of the main Chicago Public Library, which after closing changed from its pedantic role to one that is entertaining and artistic.
In addition, there is excellent information on Chicago's cultural treasures like the Chicago Neighborhood Tours, which makes me want to leave my bucolic Wisconsin community for several weeks of arduous touring in Chicago.
I lived in Chicago, attended Northwestern in the '30s and "careered" in the Windy City during "The Century of Progress" up to the threshold of World War II.
So many changes have affected and enhanced Chicago, and a woman like Lois Weisberg has brought many such changes about. Bless Anne Taubeneck for bringing Weisberg to our attention in her stimulating, zestfully written article.
Marjorie Cowan Geisler (WCAS33)
News on Campus
C'mon, how many Arthur Pancoes ["New Life Sciences Building Dedicated," spring 2004] can there be in this world? The Arthur Pancoe I knew graduated with me from Stolp School in Wilmette, Ill., in 1939 and New Trier High School in 1943.
Arthur was a scholar and an athlete. He was known as the Sid Luckman of touch football, calling plays and passing.
I haven't seen Arthur since 1943.
My congratulations to Arthur on his success and his wonderful gift. My condolence on the loss of his granddaughter. She must have been a great joy.
Mark Young (WCAS50)
I'd like to point out that your reference to swimmer Matt Grevers' records ["Overflowing with Talent," Sports] in the 100-meter backstroke is incorrect. His times of 49.08 and 48.95 are for the 100-yard backstroke.
Editor's note: Grevers was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Co-Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. The Wildcats placed 11th at the NCAA Championships.
Buffalo Bob — and Buffalo Bill
The article "Buffalo Bob" [spring 2004] did an excellent job of following the fascinating career path of alumnus Bob Pickering.
After reading the article, I want to go visit his museum in Cody, Wyo. The article gave very interesting insights into the work of a museum curator and an anthropologist.
Bill Gordon (WCAS79, KSM81)
Having recently visited the Buffalo Bill Historical Center with a group of fifth-graders, I have to say that the "Smithsonian of the West" title is certainly appropriate.
For those visiting the museum, I suggest planning on a couple of days for an adequate visit. It was wonderful to read about a fellow alumnus who has also landed in the frontier state of Wyoming. The people are few, but the opportunities many.
Timothy Blaney (SESP88)
What a surprise it was to see the story about Bob Pickering and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo. The Center is a real treasure for the town — a world-class institution in a town of 8,800.
Writer Kieran McConnellogue described the five museums of the center but did not mention another treasure within the center — the McCracken Research Library. This library is a premier archive of photos and books on Buffalo Bill and the American West.
I volunteer there twice a week. Being an amateur history buff, I appreciate the opportunity to work with these treasures.
Raymond Barkowski (SCS83)