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Criticism and Praise for Peace Weavers Story

I cringed when I saw the cover of your summer issue ["Peace Weavers," summer 2007]. The same delivery of mail also contained a solicitation for the Northwestern Annual Fund from the Office of the President addressed to my husband, Benjamin [WCAS93, Nav93], a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy.

Ben is currently deployed to a hostile fire zone. I had planned to tuck the alumni magazine into his next "care package." Alas, I do not believe that your latest issue will bring aid and comfort to my husband.

Your decision to include "anti-Bush" slogans within the cover's photo montage neither elevates the political dialogue nor does justice to many of the noble efforts featured within the article.

I anticipate that Ben and I shall find it intellectually consistent to leave Northwestern's annual appeal unheeded this year.

Moira Kinsella Allbritton (WCAS92, Tns93)
San Diego

I was so impressed by the excellent article about alumni who are working for peace and justice.

Although my wife and I are over 90, we are still active in the Reedley Peace Center. We meet every Friday evening for a meal, followed by a speaker and discussion. About 40 people regularly attend the meeting. Sometimes we have demonstrated on a busy intersection to spread our word.

We are happy to hear that there are other active groups doing the same thing, of which we had no knowledge.

We feel it takes real courage to bring out such an article in these days.

Marden C. Habegger (FSM43)
Reedley, Calif.

I find it inappropriate and offensive that you felt it necessary to include disparaging photos against the president of the United States on the cover of your magazine. These outrageous photos do not represent a balanced or mainstream perspective that represents or promotes peacekeeping.

Your magazine cover is another piece of evidence of the far left bias so strong in academia.

Joseph T. Seminetta (KSM95)
Kenilworth, Ill.

"Peace Weavers" reminded me of the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." It really inspired and impressed me to see how various Northwestern alumni have committed themselves to peace and social justice.

As a teacher, I plan on using examples from this article to show my students various ways in which they might become aware of and connected to the world. The individuals in the article have a wealth of gifts, and they all seem focused on using these gifts for a larger cause than themselves.

This article portrays what I believe peace is truly about — having a vision of helping others, at home and abroad, and then having the courage to actually do something about it.

Eric Hofschire (SESP95)
Littleton, Colo.

I was real pleased to read "Peace Weavers." I live in a small central Illinois town where peace and justice advocates are often labeled unpatriotic, nuts or both. To read of so many capable people speaking and working for peace and justice was heartening.

M. Willis Sutter (D53)
Eureka, Ill.

Opposition to war, peaceful conflict resolution and respect for human rights are common goals that unite the alumni activists mentioned in "Peace Weavers." I am in awe of every one of them.

However, I was disappointed that the article did not include alumni who are serving (or have served) in the armed forces. There has always been a debate about the wisdom of using violence to resolve human conflicts. The "Peace Weavers" represent the best of those who subscribe to one side of that argument. Most members of the military subscribe to the opposite view: We believe that violence — no matter how terrible and tragic — is sometimes necessary.

Perhaps next summer's edition of Northwestern will include a cover story on another group of "Peace Weavers" — the "Peace Warriors," who stand ready to commit violence in order to enable the peace and promise of freedom.

Matthew K. Lince (KSM02)
Montgomery, Ala.

Editor's note: We featured 43 Northwestern alumni serving in the U.S. military in the winter 2005 cover story. Read this story online at

Weaving peace is more than just about wearing tie-dyed T-shirts with peace signs and joining bands of long-haired, bushy-bearded people who find it acceptable to publicly denounce our president in the most crude and irresponsible manner.

The real peace weavers in our society today are those American citizens who risk their own lives every day in Iraq as members of our U.S. military, ensuring peace and helping to lay the foundation for democracy in a region of the world that has not known peace for more than a century.

I found the cover story's lack of balance, particularly the cover photo selection, disappointing and offensive.

Stefan C. James (KSM92)
Seoul, Korea

I was interested to read the cover story concerning alumni who are involved with a variety of societal issues. These issues cover the spectrum of oppression, war, famine, pestilence and death. Prevention is the best treatment for disease, and I believe that prevention is the only rational treatment for the world's ills. Oppressive government, overpopulation, environmental destruction and religious hatreds and intolerance are some of the root causes of the conditions with which our peace-weaver alumni are wrestling.

Unless the underlying causes are addressed, the peace weavers' work will never end. Peace is more than the absence of war. The nations and religions of the world must work together to eliminate the causes of our miseries. It will require better global leadership than we have had in the past.

Stanton Fischer (WCAS49, G50)

It was particularly rewarding to spot the "War is Not the Answer" signs that appeared on the cover and twice within the magazine. I have been fortunate to have served for the past several years on the development committee of Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker-based lobby in the public interest based in Washington, D.C. Distribution of these signs throughout the country has been but one piece of our advocacy for peaceful alternatives to war in resolving international conflicts.

E. Garnet Fay (C65)

Please remove me from your mailing list immediately. When I saw the cover of the issue, read the story and, in particular, saw the bashing of our president, I had had enough.

I have to listen to and read all kinds of left-slanted garbage all the time. I don't need it in my alumni magazine, too.

Walt Speck (C84)
Northampton, Pa.

Just thought that I would let you know that your summer issue cover affirmed my decision not to support the University's appeal for alumni donations this year. As a Northwestern graduate with a family member serving in the military in Iraq, I would ask that you keep war politics to yourself and devote yourself to education.

Douglas Graham (WCAS89)
Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.

What a dishonor to our men and women who have bled for this country to print tripe like this. The cover says it all, and it went straight to the trash.

Yvonne Patten Law (C49)
Ashburn, Va.

Some of the photos in your cover montage were indeed vacuous and objectionable to those of us who support our United States of America, our leaders and the God of our Christian faith.

Robert E. Sandrok (FSM68, GFSM74)
Wheaton, Ill.

The summer issue cover struck me as a dose of political factionalism. Some of us don't appreciate the glorification of the peace movement and its signs. To me, it was insulting and divisive. What is the purpose of Northwestern magazine? To rile the alumni?

Nancy Liebrock Horn (WCAS53)
Edina, Minn.

Disgraceful! The "Peace Weavers" cover and article portray the useless actions of this season's beatniks, while real Americans risk everything to defend this nation. If the peace weavers really want to express their ineffective ideas, then they should march and protest in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan or Indonesia. They'd last about two minutes.

Northwestern has lost its place in my heart after 50 years. The bequest in my will is now directed to another, more deserving, school.

Burton Schindler (WCAS50)
Bella Vista, Ark.

It is wonderful to read the stories of Northwestern grads and faculty who are using their intellectual and creative capabilities to create a more just and peaceful world community.

In a world that seems constantly tottering toward self-destruction, where the United Nations is often blocked from effective peacemaking by powerful nations, it is encouraging to see the creative power of people working together in nongovernmental organizations.

Doug Hostetter
Former visiting lecturer, Northwestern University;
Director, Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Liaison Office
New York City

I believe there is a better way for mankind to solve their differences than in killing each other.

Virginia E. Casebier (G57)
Sun City, Ariz.

I am fed up with your anti-American propaganda! Take me off of your mailing list — forever.

Donald R. Glass (D66)
Sun City West, Ariz.

I'm amazed that my school has such a political bias, as portrayed on the cover of the summer issue. Emotion doesn't keep Americans safe. Military strength does.

William E. Stouvenel (EB57)
San Diego

I was totally disgusted by your article glorifying the "peace" scum who take every advantage of our freedoms but refuse to lift a finger to preserve them. I am very proud to have served in the armed forces of our country and have nothing but contempt for those who demean them. Your article is a disgrace.

Phillip Nagle (EB65)
Wheeling, Ill.

Given my course in life (I'm a senior fellow at the Peace Studies Institute at Manchester College), I was most happy to see your feature article on Northwestern alumni concerns with peace and justice. I gave up a long teaching career to lead three peace-related projects.

Neil Wollman (WCAS72)
North Manchester, Ind.

I'm absolutely shocked at the anti-war and anti-Bush emphasis of the summer 2007 issue. It looks as if you have plunged completely into a Democrat and pacifist cesspool Wow! And ouch!

Jim Lundy (McC53)
Wichita Falls, Texas

These groups purport to champion human rights and liberal values but in practice do nothing more than compare the United States to utopia and rant about how they are ashamed of their country because it falls short. Now they have chosen to side with the terrorists in Iraq and to work feverishly to secure America's defeat politically.

As Americans they have a right to spout whatever nonsense they want. However, when my school takes up their banner, I am utterly disgusted. You need not bother soliciting any donations from me anytime soon.

Gary Raju (KSM03)

I feel your cover story is unnecessarily political and unbalanced. Obviously you did not agree, and of course that is your right as editors.

But I will no longer donate to Northwestern.

Eric Wu (WCAS96, McC96)

What a wonderful telling of so many stories of Northwestern alumni sharing their love of peace and justice in the United States and around the world. Congratulations on your great cover story on alumni peacemakers.

I'm sure this article will bring to light so many more stories of Northwestern alumni who are also significantly promoting peace and social justice.

One such alum, a friend of mine, is Terrence J. Rynne [KSM83] After a successful career in his own health care marketing consulting firm, Terry completed his doctorate at Marquette University in 2006. His doctoral thesis, titled "Rethinking Christian Salvation in the Light of Gandhi's Satyagraha," is scheduled to be published by Orbis Books later this year.

Terry has worked on the proposed Marquette University Center for Peacemaking. The center will grant a degree in peace studies as well as involve Marquette undergraduates in seminars and programs promoting peace work.

Terry Rynne certainly qualifies as a Northwestern University peace weaver.

Donald Heidkamp (KSM80)
Park Ridge, Ill.

Two articles, "Peace Weavers" and "Defender of the Rule of Law" in the summer issue, caught my immediate attention. In view of your magazine's slant I am requesting that you kindly remove my name from your mailing list.

Leon J. Rung (EB53)
New Orleans

Don't Defend Detainees

I was disappointed to read the article "Defender of the Rule of Law" [summer 2007] regarding Mr. Margulies and his effort to achieve justice for the Guantanamo Bay detainees. I believe we need to do everything possible to eliminate terrorism on American soil. We lost a family friend on 9/11. Mark Bavis was on United Airlines 175. Mark was 31 years old. Maybe Mr. Margulies should spend some time with each of the families impacted by the terrorist actions on 9/11. He may rethink his life's purpose.

Walter Pasko Jr. (KSM90)
Elkhorn, Neb.

In Good Company

The article by Kristin Huffman ["In Good Company," summer 2007] on her experience in the formation, casting and performance of Company was wonderful. I saw the musical last May and was mesmerized by Huffman's ability to combine acting with performance on the flute, piccolo and saxophone. She also has terrific comedic timing. The show demanded precision and perfection from each actor. All were great, but Raúl Esparza and Huffman were most memorable. Kudos to the Northwestern music department for encouraging and enhancing a wonderful actor!

Martha Wiedman (WCAS71)
Santa Ana, Calif.

I was in New York City a few weeks ago and saw Company. It was an excellent production and Kristin Huffman gave a superb performance. The most striking thing about this production was the fact that not only did everyone sing quite well but they also played their several instruments with great facility. It was a truly remarkable theater experience.

Don Thompson (Mu46)
Garden Grove, Calif.

Changing Course

I just read Blackwell's article on career changers and found it to be excellent. I teach career psychology at the Family Institute at Northwestern University, and this article will be in my course pack next year.

The article accurately reflects how career change is made through epiphany, returning to childhood dream jobs and the need to find purpose or meaning in what one does. I noticed that Blackwell's examples were people who made change because they wanted to leave what they were doing or pursue a different lifestyle or felt "burned out."

My experience in career counseling is that many people (if not most) come for assistance because they were forced out of a career. Many are downsized or outsourced out of work. Individuals who are fired face the trauma of a sudden loss of career identity and income and may experience shame and emotional or physical problems as a result. Older workers (45-plus) find that replicating their former position is nearly impossible and they have another 20 years of work life left.

Blackwell might consider doing a follow-up story on individuals who didn't expect or want to make a career shift but were forced to. I think it would make a good story, and I'll have another winner for my course pack.

Richard Rotberg

Comments on News on Campus

I just love Dance Marathon ["By the Numbers," News on Campus, summer 2007]. It truly warms my heart when I see those students out on the corners collecting and then read afterward of their huge success. I never miss an opportunity to add to their collections. Another fine attribute of this program is the diversity of charitable recipients from year to year. It is nice to see the benefits spread around. I wish there had been such an event when I was a student.

Please pass along my congratulations and proud thoughts.

Barbara Aye McStowe (WCAS72)
Wilmette, Ill.

I read professor emeritus Charles Moskos' comments to MSNBC [News on Campus, summer 2007] with disbelief. Of the last four presidents, only Bill Clinton was a draft dodger. The other three presidents served in the military. Reagan and the first Bush served with distinction in World War II. The second Bush served in the Air National Guard.

Where did the good professor serve?

Michael G. Kapnas (WCAS48)
La Costa, Calif.

Editor's note: Charles Moskos said that the winners of the last four elections, not the last four presidents, have been draft dodgers.

Moskos served with the U.S. Army combat engineers as a draftee from 1956 to 1958. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award, the U.S. Army's highest decoration for a civilian, and has been designated Honored Patriot by the Selective Service System. He also received the Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service in Desert Shield/Desert Storm from the Department of Defense.

I read with concern professor Charles Taylor's argument for "spirituality" as opposed to secular humanism in the resolution of human conflict ["Renowned Philosopher Wins Templeton Prize," News on Campus, summer 2007]. Taylor's concept of spirituality diverges from historical and current human practices, which are more appropriately called religiosity.

Religiosity defines justice and humane action through doctrines about the proper relationship of humanity to divine entities, so the boundaries of inclusion and protection under those principles often coincide with the boundaries of belief. People have countenanced war, oppression and exploitation against others through the belief that they practice the correct relationship to the divine and have mobilized religious identity in worldly conflicts to dehumanize their enemies. Taylor evades this history by postulating a "spirituality" that is generic enough to encompass worldviews that are not merely different but inherently incompatible. This fudging constitutes intellectual laxity of the sort that Northwestern ought not to endorse, no matter how much money is awarded to support it.

Michan Connor (WCAS98)
Los Angeles

Remembering Lola May

I was interested to read the article about the passing of Lola J. May [Deaths, summer 2007].

I attended some of her lectures in the Los Angeles area in the 1960s. They were so interesting even though they were delivered at a very fast clip. They were funny, original and challenging. She will be missed.

Webster J. Jones, husband of Eunice Smith Jones (C46)
Costa Mesa, Calif.

Cause of Death

I think it's bad journalism and a disservice to your readers to exclude cause of death from your obituary notices. Are you not aware that respected newspapers list this routinely? It is something the average reader wants to know. Such Pollyannaism speaks exceptionally poorly for a supposed center of journalistic excellence and learning.

Ira Sitomer (GJ69)
New York City

Price of Admission

It was with some amazement that I read in your letters section that tuition is so expensive ["Tuition Exorbitant," Mailbox, summer 2007]. Judging from the flip-flop girls and conventional political activists whom we encounter interminably, as long as daddy can fork up the bucks, class and discernment are not necessary for entry into our hallowed institution.

Stanley Pierce (D62)
Palm Coast, Fla.

Class Codes

I graduated last year, and so I just received my first Northwestern magazine. The articles were interesting. Thanks!

I just wanted to let you know that one thing really jumped out at me as a reader. That is the use of the initials of the department from which the person graduated (C, J, WCAS, etc). Although you provide a code at the end of the magazine, frankly it's annoying.

What bothers me most is that there is no differentiation between the earning of an undergraduate and a graduate degree. So if I ever appear in the magazine (I hope to be that lucky), I'll be Sarah Wu (C06). It makes me look like just a simple undergrad or at least there's confusion over the degree earned. No offense, but I earned an MA and it would be nice if that were reflected. For me the department from which I graduated is irrelevant. The fact that I have a master's from Northwestern is the only thing that matters to employers anyway.

Did you know that more than 50 percent of Northwestern's student body is working at the graduate level? That means that in your magazine their accomplishments will simply be defined by their department and not their actual degree. I believe that this leads to confusion among readers.

I think changing your acronyms would make your magazine more readable and the credentials of your alumni more visible.


Sarah Wu (GC07)

Editor's note: We do distinguish between an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree by including the letter "G" in front of the Northwestern school abbreviation for students who obtain graduate degrees. So, that is why your class code is (GC07).

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