Fall 2010

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Senior Watch a Hit

It’s never a surprise to read about successful Northwestern graduates. But what struck me about the students profiled in “Now We’re Cooking,” [summer 2010] was their deep diversity of thought and the passion of their commitment to a fundamental set of ideals that reach way beyond the world that Wadsworth referred to as “earning and spending.”

In learning about Meixi Ng’s work in fighting human trafficking, about William Kalema’s passionate commitment to the future of the Sudanese people, about Carla Argueta’s firm commitment to social justice for immigrants, I am suddenly hopeful about the young people who are being trained at Northwestern for compassionate leadership.

Paul Nebenzahl

The summer Northwestern was a wonderful issue, with terrific student profiles [“Now We’re Cooking”]. I’ve never seen a better alumni publication.

Neil Clemons (GJ69)
Newport, Wash.

As someone whose job includes blogging about food and drinks, I especially connected with the piece on Angela Mears, the creative nonfiction major who writes about her cooking experiences on her blog. Like Angela, I found a love for food and cooking — and writing about the two — during my time at Northwestern. It’s inspiring to see such a group of talented, creative people actively pursuing their passions. And it’s a reminder that four years at Northwestern can lead to so much more than a degree.

Evan Benn (J04)
St. Louis

Thank you for featuring me on the cover of your magazine. Since the issue came out, I’ve seen a spike in blog traffic and have received many encouraging notes from alumni and faculty. But this was the big surprise: As a result of being included in the cover story, I was invited to interview at Weber Shandwick by the president of the Chicago branch, who is a Medill graduate. Also, an alumnus in Los Angeles suggested that we talk about turning the blog into a TV show. While I am still deciding which direction I will take (and what city I’ll live in!), I know I might not have these opportunities if it were not for the magazine article.

Angela Mears (WCAS10)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the wide variety of paths that Northwestern seniors are taking in “Now We’re Cooking.” The article was a breath of fresh air and the highlight of your summer issue.

Reading about Angela Mears’ food blog, “The Spinning Plate,” made me want to share one of my favorite food-related blogs with her: Parla Food.

I’m sure Angela can relate to Katie Parla, who is a young American living in Rome and making a living as a food and travel writer, food historian, sommelier, tour guide and a certified archaeological spelunker for the city of Rome!

Steve Park (WCAS75)
Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Indomitable Dominic

Thank you for recognizing the outstanding contributions Dominic Missimi made to the musical theater program and the University as a whole in “The Indomitable Dominic” [summer 2010]. The night before his retirement gala in May I had the privilege of having dinner with Dominic, his family and many of his former students from all over the country. We watched videos of old Waa-Mu shows that Dominic directed, swapped our favorite Dominic stories and reflected on how Dominic has helped us build careers and lives outside of Northwestern. It was a wonderful evening that perfectly illustrated the extent of his devotion to his work and his students. Dominic is an amazing man and educator who is leaving behind an incredible legacy at Northwestern. I look forward to crossing paths with him again and again in my career and life.

Eugenio Vargas (C09)
New York City

Confusion Over Latham House

I’d like to point out an error in the article “A Whopper of a Reunion for Latham House Friends” [Alumni News, summer 2010]. Latham House was not a house. I remember it as a decrepit old apartment building just west of the spot where the Burger King now stands. I think it occupied what is now the Burger King parking lot. The large 19th-century house mentioned in the article did indeed exist where the Burger King itself now stands. But it was the admission office, not a dorm. I had my admission interview there in fall 1963. Just thought I’d set the record straight.

David L. Dreier (J68)

I’m a bit confused about the location of Latham House. I lived in Latham House from September 1943 to March 1944. It was a three-story brick building on the west side of Sherman Avenue between Clark and Emerson streets. On the south side was a Toddle House restaurant and on the north a building owned by the Lutheran church. The music school was across the street on the east side and had a very busy practice building on the Emerson Street corner. It was removed for the western extension of Clark Street, I believe. Were there two locations for Latham House?

John W. Plattner (EB49, KSM51)

Editor’s Note: Northwestern University archivist Kevin Leonard (WCAS77, G82) sets the record straight: Latham House was widely known as a dump of a building when Northwestern used it for housing. However, it appears that before Northwestern acquired the property and before it became an apartment building, the structure at 710 Clark Street was a large private house. According to a campus map, circa 1963, the undergraduate admission office was located at Clark and Orrington, where Burger King now stands. It looks like Latham occupied the area just to the west, perhaps the land now used for the Burger King parking lot. As for the question of two locations for Latham, Mr. Plattner is correct. The original Latham House was located at 1822 Sherman Ave. That building eventually became home to the Evans Scholars until they were displaced in 1964 due to construction on Evanston’s Elgin Road, a thoroughfare that, when built, cut through the site of the building.

Cancer Bitch

I read with great interest Ms. Wisenberg’s article on breast cancer, “Bitching and Blogging Through Breast Cancer,” [summer 2010]. I would like to add my own personal experience as a learning tool.

There is a reason that the National Cancer Institute as well as the American Cancer Society have guidelines for cancer screening. They save lives. Like mine. Like twice in six months.

On Memorial Day weekend I celebrated my first cancer-free year since November 2008. My brush with cancer started with a routine prostate cancer screening test, which I failed, followed by a “routine biopsy,” which I also failed. Then after my successful prostate surgery, my wife, Sandra Mae Shaner Grogan (McC79), had an uneventful colonoscopy. I was “encouraged” to follow suit. I failed.

After my second successful cancer surgery in 3 1/2 months, my second surgeon told me, “If you had waited six months, we would be having a much different conversation!”

Several of my medical colleagues have been encouraged to follow through with their routine screenings as a result of my experiences. If you are reaching middle age or have strong family risk factors for cancer, don’t delay. Join me in planning to live long enough to be a burden on your children!

Wendell Grogan (FSM78, 80, GFSM84)

Honoring World War II Veterans

I was fortunate to attend one of Honor Flight Chicago’s homecoming ceremonies at Midway Airport last year, and I can attest to what remarkable lengths Mary Pettinato [“Honoring the Greatest Generation’s Veterans,” Alumni News, summer 2010] and the organization’s volunteers go to honor the heroes of World War II. It was late when the flight landed in Chicago after the group’s visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Most of the veterans —men now in their 80s and 90s — were surely tired and expected nothing more than a quiet reunion with a handful of loved ones. Others, a quiet cab ride to the suburbs. Few seemed prepared for the heroes’ welcome that was in store. As soon as the veterans exited the security screening area, they were met by a color guard and band. The men were then led through a gauntlet of hundreds of cheering friends, family members and well-wishers who flooded the baggage claim area. Once they realized these people were there for them, a look of astonishment prevailed. Tears quickly flowed.

The experience isn’t merely emotional for the veterans. It’s easy to get choked up as you watch these men soak in the welcome.

Honor Flight Chicago’s events are joyous occasions, but they cast light on a tragedy as well: More than 400,000 American troops were killed during the course of World War II. Time is running out to do right by the heroes we have left.

Michael Klitzing

Reel Life

What perfect timing could have brought the summer issue to my door on a 90-degree afternoon in Philadelphia? I had just finished mowing the front yard with my modernly redesigned reel lawn mower, the sweat stinging my eyes and beginning to itch my arms where it had already started to dry. Taking a break before heading to the back, I landed on David Termuhlen’s piece “Free Reelin’” [Purple Prose, summer 2010]. Too many times my neighbors, strangers and sometimes even my husband chide me for the antiquated practice. Sometimes I say it’s for the exercise, or the environment or for the benefit of the grass. But David has hit on a big part of why I continue to pace the yard every week. I may have missed the days of “Ollie, ollie, oxen, free,” but I can capture some of that seemingly simpler time with my own whir, whir, clip, clip, clip. And knowing that my 10-month-old son will grow up with his own memory of that summer metronome makes it OK that I didn’t have a lemonade waiting for me this time.

Sarah Carney Latini (WCAS01)
Elkins Park, Pa.

I so enjoyed David Termuhlen’s Purple Prose on cutting the grass with a push mower [“Free Reelin’, ” summer 2010]. Two years ago I got rid of my gas mower and bought a push reel-type mower, which I use to cut my grass. Incidentally, I am 93 years old, so tell David he has many more years of reel mowing ahead of him.

Mildred Reed Smith (G42)
Elmhurst, Ill

The White House Goes Purple

What an accomplishment ["The White House Goes Purple," summer 2010]. Go ’Cats. Working for the most dangerous president ever elected in America. Socialist ideologue. Amateur Chicago politician who captained the debate team (apparently) but can’t lead. South Side community organizer who brought teams of communists and leftist radicals to the White House. How’s that “Hope and Change” working for you so far? I can tell you it’s destroying our country.

Ray Trapp (KSM64)

Alumni Connections

For years I have read the Northwestern alumni magazine because I enjoy and learn from the articles.

Recently I received a new benefit from the publication. As co-chair of an annual dinner for women lawyers and doctors held each year in central New York, I look for a new topic to charm the audience. For our April 2010 event the subject was women in science.

Pondering the program, I read the winter 2009 issue of Northwestern magazine and saw an engaging quote from Jill Hanna Prince (WCAS99), an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, in the story about alumnus geophysicist Brian Shiro (WCAS00) [“Man on Mars,” winter 2009]. I called her and invited her. Prince accepted and flew to New York from Hampton, Va.

She was terrific! Part of the new generation of women in science, she gave us hope and encouragement. The movement for gender equality, although not complete, certainly has had a great influence in science.

She said she doesn’t think women and men have different brains (I agree). “Having diversity in science means having creativity and innovation. And really, that can only push forward humankind, technologically,” she said. “I don’t think you can specifically say that women bring this and that men bring that; each person is different.”

Karen DeCrow (J59)
Jamesville, N.Y.