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Winning Women ...

I was delighted to read the wonderful story on women's athletics, "Winning Women" [winter 2004].

As a student I participated in competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, basketball and volleyball, but never received any University recognition. At that time we were not allowed to compete against other schools. It wasn't until my senior year that this rule began to ease up under Bonnie Pick's [Mu46, SESP52] direction. I was also president of the Women's Athletic Association when I was a student there.

After graduation I taught physical education at Glenbrook North High School before moving to California. During my three years of teaching at College of the Desert, Title IX was passed and things began to improve. I later married and moved back to Illinois, where I taught and coached for 30 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It was during that time that women's varsity athletics took off.

I'm so happy that I could witness the turnaround. Last November I finally received my varsity letter and was inducted into the N Club along with 100 other female athletes (from the pre-Title IX era). My daughter and son-in-law accompanied me to the reception, and they were so impressed with the alumni women athletes who attended. When your issue came out they couldn't help comment on the advancement of women's sports at Northwestern. They had seen both sides of the issue in just a short week. Job well done. I am proud of Northwestern.

Fran Evans Sweeney (SESP58)
Northfield, Ill.

... But Cover Concerns

Please spare us these covers.

Cornelius P. Callahan (L58)
Lake Bluff, Ill.

What a vulgar, ugly, disgusting cover. I am embarrassed to be associated with such a sleazy organization!

Joan Search Hanson (WCAS56)
Franklin, Pa.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

I always enjoy looking through and reading the Northwestern magazine and found the article on the new campus buildings, "Learning Spaces" [winter 2004], interesting. However, as an art historian who is married to an architect, I missed any mention of the architects who designed these buildings.

So, let's give them credit, too!

Josette Amiguet Wagner (WCAS53)
Stuttgart, Germany

Editor's note: You're right. Here's the list of buildings and their architects. Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self Assembly: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership; Crowe Hall: DeStefano + Partners; McCormick Tribune Center: Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering; Arthur and Gladys Pancoe-Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Life Sciences Pavilion: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership.

Grow More Teachers

My husband is a graduate of Northwestern. However, I enjoy reading your publication. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I taught in an environment similar to Julia Michie's ["Julia and the Beanstalks," winter 2004]. Her piece touched me and strengthened my feelings that children and the world need more educators like her. Keep them growing, Ms. Michie!

Kate Smith
Arden Hills, Minn.

For Love — Against Kipnis

Laura Kipnis ["Agent Provocateur," winter 2004] was not trained as a social scientist but as an artist. Her books are based largely on opinions, not necessarily facts. She overlooks the reams of studies that do not support her hypothesis. Research has shown that married people live longer, are healthier and have a lower incidence of depression and anxiety. Their children do better in school and the workplace. They have more frequent and more satisfying sex. They are less likely to abuse their partner than people who merely live together. Many people enter new marriages without resolving some of the issues that caused their first union to collapse. That does not mean that marriage itself is the problem or that we should discard it as a viable institution in our culture.

Lynn Matteson Pisaniello (WCAS82)
Lowville, N.Y.

I was saddened to read the article about Professor Kipnis and her cynical attitude about marriage.

I have been a family physician for more than 40 years. Yes, I have seen marriage misused, almost always because of individual self-centeredness and unwillingness to truly care about other human beings.

I have seen thousands of people who are devoted, compassionate to others, willing to be flexible, and who make "sacrifices" as needed for the benefit of their marital partner (and often, children).

Sometimes I see them when I make a house call. They devotedly care for a dying loved one, stroking the hand, cooling the brow, or cleaning feces or urine — because they truly love, respect and care for one another.

Just the other day a retired colonel, with tears in his eyes on his 56th wedding anniversary, holding the hand of his Alzheimer's diseased wife in a facility, said, "I keep thinking of all she's missing." He visits her daily because he cares.

We need more compassion and less provocation in our society.

Bob Matthies (WCAS57)
Prescott, Ariz.

I'm interested in the rationale behind the story about Laura Kipnis and in the University's rationale for employing her. Certainly every school owes it to its students to promote freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas, even if some of those ideas are far from mainstream.

However, along with that freedom comes the responsibility both to warn students that some ideas have dangerous and undesirable results, and to avoid serving as a platform for ideas that are patently harmful.

Adultery is one of the most destructive, costly and tragic practices in our culture today. The empirical proof that adultery is destructive is overwhelming, and yet Kipnis has forged on in the opposite direction, her angry subjective feminism cloaked in the guise of social science and intellectual responsibility, courtesy of Northwestern.

Marriage has proven itself a worthy and even essential institution for raising families — including producing students smart enough to get into Northwestern and parents with the means to send them. Marriage isn't the problem here; the problem is radical narcissism and selfishness, the insistence on personal fulfillment above all else.

I expect Northwestern to be helping me teach my son to be responsible, selfless, honorable, trustworthy and fair, and would like to know why you and Ms. Kipnis apparently see fit to do the opposite.

John Perry
Nashville, Tenn.

French Toast

It's a pleasure for me to receive Northwestern magazine while I am far from Chicago — in Paris. Each time I find the magazine in my mailbox I feel a sentiment of pride and at the same time nostalgia. Pride because I completed my fellowship in clinical and echocardiography research at one of the best universities in the world, and nostalgia because I spent a great time in Chicago.

If Tony Bennett has left his heart in San Francisco, I must say that I left mine in Chicago. I am practicing medicine at the American Hospital of Paris, where I see many American tourists visiting France. I never miss the opportunity to tell them that I had been in Chicago at one of the best U.S. universities.

I hope one day I find the time and opportunity to return to the city where I left my heart.

Franck Seghatol-Eslami (GFSM02)

A Show of Arms

To the witty, wistful author of "The Arms Race" [Purple Prose, winter 2004], I, too, have been an upper-arm observer ever since I was a tot and nearly got smothered by an affectionate grandmother's flabby, floppy-armed embrace!

I began noticing aunts' arms, female neighbors' and teachers' arms. During my school years I became distracted by boys, books and tennis. But I still tended to notice a woman's upper arm, first thing.

Then I married, began my family and soon learned that caring for the darlings was exercise. But was it preventing the dreaded upper-arm flab? On my own, I devised a series of upper-arm flab-prevention exercises that seem to have worked — for 50 years! So take heart, Kristen Acimovic! It is not too late for you (and others) to acquire those much-coveted 'spindly,' 'ballerina' arms!

I probably should patent or copyright what I am about to reveal, but I am a generous, sharing soul. My daily regime includes the following exercises: Begin by placing palms together firmly, chest high, to long count of three. Relax, then begin vigorously, not harshly though, to slap left upper arm with right palm and heel of hand for count of ten, first the front, then the back of arm. Relax.

Then, with arms tautly outstretched, tightly rotate your arms in small circles 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise.

That's it. Do it regularly, faithfully, forever! Some push-ups, floor or wall, can also be beneficial, but I believe the 'slapping' is what does the trick.

You're welcome and good luck!

Patricia Matusek Kenning (SESP51)
Littleton, Colo.

A Soft Shell

Thank you for the recent feature on Cloudveil and my involvement in the company ["Unparalleled Apparel for the Great Outdoors," Alumni News, fall 2004].

I wish, however, to make a correction. I am quoted as saying that "Gore-Tex jackets ... made me sweat like a pig," and on several other occasions Gore-Tex outerwear is referenced as the only example of the type of waterproof shell gear I was talking about.

While I understand that Gore-Tex fabric is a highly recognizable brand name associated with waterproof-breathable outerwear, and therefore easily understood by the reading audience, I did not specifically refer to Gore-Tex fabrics, but rather made mention of the lack of performance I had found with "traditional shell gear." The misunderstanding and direct association with Gore-Tex outerwear due to its market-leading position in this category is understandable, but I do wish to clarify this point and would not want to undermine a great branded product such as Gore-Tex outerwear.

Brian Cousins (WCAS94)
Jackson, Wyo.


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