Fall 2017

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I just finished reading Kingsley Day’s article on soprano Amanda Majeski [“Everyday Diva,” summer 2017], who has done so well in opera, and found it really fascinating. Day’s writing kept me totally engaged and wanting to learn more and more as everything unfolded! It was really beautifully done.
Day highlighted the issues of Majeski having a career of international scope along with a successful marriage to a fellow vocalist. He also brought us into her world — her respect for her art, the daily practicalities of touring and her genuine feelings in various situations. Day’s description of the support of Majeski’s Northwestern voice teacher to help her family understand the importance of her career mirrors that of the most dedicated university professors throughout the country in going the extra mile for their students.  
Jane Magrath ’82 DMA
Norman, Okla.


Of all the research, creative works, teaching and service taking place at Northwestern, I’m perhaps most proud of our graduate students’ breakthroughs in the service of making the world a better place.
So I was particularly pleased to read the profiles of 12 remarkable graduate students, including two with close connections with the School of Education and Social Policy [“What’s Up Docs?” summer 2017]. Dionne Champion and Jordan Conwell both apply lessons from multiple disciplines in the interest of improving educational outcomes. Jordan is working to uncover the root causes of persistent education disparities in America, while Dionne is demonstrating how movement can change the way we think.
In the years to come, Dionne and Jordan’s work will improve many lives, and I’m delighted that it took shape at Northwestern. And, as a personal note, I’m especially happy that both Dionne and Jordan will continue their careers as faculty members at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where I earned my PhD. I’m sure that they’ll make my graduate alma mater better as well.
David Figlio
Dean and Orrington Lunt Professor
School of Education and Social Policy
Northwestern University


As an art history major, I look with great interest at the architectural changes and additions at Northwestern. In the summer 2017 issue there were two pieces on buildings — a short news item on NU-Q’s new building [“New Home for NU-Q,” Campus Life, page 11] and six pages (counting the inside front cover spread) on Kellogg’s Global Hub [“A Hub Above,” Now, and “Kellogg’s Crown Jewel”]. There was no credit or acknowledgement given to the architects in either piece, each touting the outstanding building features and sustainable design. I doubt you would discuss a book without mention of the author.
This is not the first article in the magazine about architecture that omitted credit for the architects. Unfortunately, omissions of this kind occur in too many U.S. general-interest publications, which is why my firm — as pointed out in Class Notes [page 50] in the same issue — champions the cause of architects.
Julie D. Taylor ’82
Los Angeles

As someone who writes about architecture (most recently The Space Within: Inside Great Chicago Buildings), I like to see architects get their due, yet I saw no credit given to the architects in your two features on the new Kellogg building in the summer issue of Northwestern. All those wonderful features were designed by someone, who should have been given credit!
Patrick F. Cannon ’69
Forest Park, Ill.

Editor’s Note: KPMB Architects designed the Kellogg Global Hub. Antoine Predock designed the new headquarters for Northwestern University in Qatar.


Thank you for sharing the work of philosophy professor Jennifer Lackey [“Philosophy Behind Bars,” Campus Life, summer 2017]. She is to be commended for her work to make the lives of people behind bars a bit more meaningful. Lackey’s efforts to bring a clearer understanding of their lives through thoughtful discussion and examination of their history are remarkable. I hope she can expand her program and expose more of her students to what it means to help others who many feel are beyond redemption.
Arlis McLean

Northwestern magazine reports that the University has increased the amount of money that it awards for undergraduate financial aid to $160 million in 2016–17 [“Quest Scholars Advocate for Low-Income Students,” Campus Life, summer 2017]. That certainly is commendable, but it may fall far short of what Northwestern could allocate for undergraduate financial aid given the size of its endowment ($9.8 billion as of August 2016).
If Northwestern were required to pay out 5 percent of the value of its endowment as are private foundations under the Tax Reform Act of 1969, the funds available for scholarships would be $490 million — three times the reported amount spent on undergraduate financial aid.
Surely it is in the interest of Northwestern University to clarify how it spends its endowment and alumni donations especially as they relate to graduate and undergraduate fees. More transparency might help dispel alumni cynicism.
Bernard Gilman ’66
Ashland, Mass.

Editor’s Note: In addition to financial aid, funds from the endowment support a number of things, including faculty salaries, library acquisitions, research fellowships and more. The annual payout from the endowment is approximately 5 percent.


Although not an organ major, I was privileged to have a year and one summer of organ study with Richard Enright [Passings, Alumni Life, summer 2017]. His dignity, patience, humor and high standards were all part of his masterful teaching. Designed to prepare students for the performance environment, his creative techniques proved valuable when I substituted for the regular organist at my church, and I used them with my own instrumental students.
Even though I was clearly the kindergartener amidst his very advanced students, Mr. Enright graciously included me in his weekly classes held at his church and at Alice Millar Chapel. It was in those classes that I was introduced to the marvelous world of French organ music and now enjoy attending the organ recitals at the cathedral in Tours.
I deeply appreciate all that professor Enright shared.
Nancy M. Sprinkel ’69, ’74 MMus
Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire, France


The Doorknob Complaint [fall 2016] is an important article for physicians and also for patients who may not have been born during the decade of “in your face” confrontation. These are patients who were told to be polite and respectful. They are NOT empowered to ask their doctors questions and expect a timely, thoughtful response. They are the patients who do not understand that they are probably the most informed experts (citizen-scientists) of how that complex machine is functioning.
I was sorry that author Julia Michie Bruckner was hesitant to confront her physician and excused that flippant answer to an important question. What was wrong was walking out the door. I understand the late timing of the inquiry and the doctor’s situation, but I don’t see evidence of empathy or curiosity in this physician. Why not come back into the examination space and make sure you didn’t miss something? To practice medicine you have to be fascinated by science in all its forms. 
(Tip to all doctors: When a patient is too timid to ask the question in the shared space created by an examination room and utters it when they are about to be alone with the problem, you can be sure they are scared and worried.)
Subtle intimidation of patients by brusk physicians is a real problem in medical practices where doctors feel underpaid, rushed and overburdened with forms to sign. However, accepting the role of physician is a choice, and the patient is not the problem. The doctor’s focus needs to be in the room listening and examining or sharing information with the patient. Please thank Dr. Bruckner for this important article. I will share it with my audience in a tweet. 
I hope she will continue to write. This piece was excellent. Maybe she’ll tackle the demise of physical exams in lieu of diagnosing via blood test print-outs. Older general practitioners try to remind doctors how valuable physical exams can be to an accurate diagnosis.
Lynn Stoppelman
Reston, Va.