Thaddeus Tukes
Thaddeus Tukes, one of our featured seniors in "Trailblzaers," plays the vibraphone at Jazz Showcase. Photo by Lauren Deutsch.


I just wanted to share how much I enjoyed this year’s senior edition on first-generation students to graduate from Northwestern [“Trailblazers,” summer 2016]. It’s awesome to see an often under-covered group get some much-deserved recognition.
Preetisha Sen ’16

Purple Prose

Tragically, Alison Flowers’ poignant story [“Trying to Keep on Growing,” Purple Prose, summer 2016] about Antione Day’s struggle to rebuild his life after his exoneration for a crime he didn’t commit, is hardly rare in our deeply flawed criminal justice system.
Statistics tell their own terrifying story. Since 1989, according to the Innocence Project, more than 340 people have been exonerated due to DNA evidence, of which a shocking percentage — nearly two-thirds — were African Americans.  
When it comes to inmates facing execution, since 1973, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, 156 have been exonerated, and again 60 percent were people of color.
Our system is riddled with racism, false confessions, ­ineffective assistance of counsel, false eye­witness identifications, police, prosecutorial and juror misconduct, lack of defense resources, junk ­science “experts,” judicial error and much more.
As a nation, it is imperative we address every one of these problems, but in the meantime we must abolish the death penalty. Even one wrongful execution is one too many in a country dedicated to liberty and justice for all.
Stephen Rohde ’66
Los Angeles

Sexism Game

The board game Sexism [“Sexism: The Game of Women’s Liberation,” Collections, summer 2016] showed the final steps of liberation to be Plastic Surgeon, Success Ladder, Divorce Court, Playboy Club and White House. In other words, the National Organization for Women wanted young women to become strikingly similar to Donald Trump. Clearly, their empty philosophy has failed generations of women. The organization’s decline is well deserved.
Daniel Stine ’89, ’90 MMus
Vienna, Va.

Diana’s Visit to ­Northwestern

I spent five years in medical research prior to attending Northwestern. I developed a close friendship with a statistician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute when I was living in Boston.
She introduced me to a colleague and friend who was doing cancer research in Chicago at the time of Princess Diana’s visit [“The People’s Princess," Then, summer 2016]. At the time, I could find no listing of any of the researchers who were being honored by Diana’s presentation. This included any report through Northwestern, the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago Sun-Times.
Instead, every article focused on what Diana was wearing and who she danced with at the reception. I swear there was a comment at the time about how her perfect lime green linen suit did not have a wrinkle when she got out of her limo. (She must have sat on her hands.)
The truth of her visit was that the woman was in personal turmoil, suffering from an eating disorder and in the process of a divorce from her husband, which was finalized in August 1996. It speaks to her grace and fortitude that she was able to present herself to a Chicago elite that embraced her aura and fundraising ability.
It is a sad commentary that 20 years later we are still discussing her Versace gown and not celebrating the women and men who have dedicated their lives to cancer research and their actual accomplishments.  
Susan Mayer ’84 DDS

Northwestern welcomes signed letters of 250 words or less from readers. We reserve the right to edit all letters. Please send correspondence to the

1800 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-1800
Fax: 847-491-3040