Spring 2017

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Northwestern is the quarterly alumni magazine for Northwestern University.
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Alicia Boler Davis
Alicia Boler Davis, executive vice president for global manufacturing and labor relations at General Motors. Photo courtesy of General Motors.

GM’s Boler Davis Inspires

Thank you for featuring such a strong role model — McCormick graduate Alicia Boler Davis — in your latest issue’s cover story, “Driving GM” [winter 2016]. I also studied engineering and recently started my career in manufacturing too. It was a treat reading about Boler Davis’ journey. I think her leadership, communication and collaboration skills exemplify whole-brain engineering.
Kelsey Berning ’13, ’14 MS
San Francisco

The article featuring Alicia Boler Davis is amazing and inspiring. Alicia is a talented and hard-working person. Her wonderful achievements inspire women of all backgrounds and prove that with hard work, dedication, commitment, flexibility and trying one’s best, one does get good results. Cheers to Alicia! May she even be president!
Joan Gallicchio Caviness ’58 MS
Belvedere Tiburon, Calif.

Peter Hayes
Peter Hayes in the Room of Remembrance at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and ­Education Center. Photo by Rob Hart.

Teaching the Holocaust

I enjoyed the recent interview with Peter Hayes. The article’s title and subject, “Explaining the Holocaust,” [winter 2016], is more relevant today than perhaps at any time since the end of World War II. On a personal level, it was great to read the insightful comments from the best of the many teachers I was privileged to study under during my time at Northwestern.
I truly appreciate that Peter continues to write and lecture on the Holocaust. History does not repeat itself, but there are certainly parallels that we must recognize and combat to prevent horrific outcomes such as fascist regimes and genocide. Our recent election should serve as a wake-up call that no country is immune to the dangers of demagoguery and the corrosive impacts of hateful speech.
Steve Kobak ’85
Portland, Ore.

I barely learned about the Holocaust in high school. My history teacher read a few paragraphs in a monotone, reciting the figure of 6 million Jews killed as if it were a statistic about ants. I never forgot that moment in class because as the teacher read, a boy behind me whispered in my ear, “Kike, my grandfather was in the KKK.” I didn’t say anything. I was the only Jew in a rural Ohio school where Christianity was preached and other religions and their history ignored.
But that experience made me determined to learn anything I could about the Holocaust. As an undergraduate at Northwestern I took two of Peter Hayes’ classes, on European history and modern Germany. I sat there transfixed as I learned the history that my high school mostly omitted. Professor Hayes taught me to better question and to analyze what I read and heard.
I was thrilled to see Elizabeth Canning Blackwell’s interview with Professor Hayes about his new book, Why? Explaining the Holocaust. Sadly, I was not surprised to read that he gave “Why the Jews?” as his first class because students knew so little about Judaism. Now years later I am trying to teach some of the same lessons he taught me. I wrote my first book, Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance, because of my experiences with antisemitism and religious ignorance. I wanted the public to better understand the power of education to reduce bigotry.
Thank you, Professor Hayes, for what you taught me nearly 30 years ago. You taught the right lessons then, and you are teaching the right lessons now.
Linda K. Wertheimer ’86, ’86 MS
Lexington, Mass.

Shanley Hall

Shanley’s Bright Lights

I absolutely love “Shanley’s Bright Lights” on the inside front cover spread [Now, winter 2016]. When I was a student, Shanley was home to the University bookstore. And when I worked at Northwestern from 1974 to 1982, it served as a performance space. I think it was originally a temporary, World War II–era classroom. Glad to see it is still “smiling” and in use.
Hal Stewart ’68, ’70 MS

Editor’s note: Read more about Shanley Hall’s history.

Matthew Harris

Matthew Harris

I enjoyed the piece about Wildcats football captain Matthew Harris ["Embracing His Story," Sports, Campus Life, winter 2016] and his initiative to help some of Evanston’s disadvantaged youth. It certainly sounds like he was deserving of the Irving Kabiller Award for Excellence in Character, Commitment and Community. It was a shame that he had to cut his college football career short due to concussions.
As alums we can be proud that so many Northwestern student-athletes are truly special young adults. Not only is there a limited number of students who excel highly enough to be able to compete at the Big Ten level and have the academic background to be considered for admission, but the time involved in practice and traveling while needing to study (with tutors and all) is incredibly demanding. I am sure Northwestern has many other athletes like Harris who will become significant contributors to society once their college days are over.
Harry Kirsch ’79, ’80 MBA
Lafayette, Calif.


True Love Will Out

I was just about to recycle the last issue of Northwestern magazine, when I saw “our” rock on the first page of the Alumni Life section [page 41, winter 2016] with a request to share our love story. I was in awe. My heart raced. If we replied would we be turning ourselves in? But after visiting many colleges with my son, I secretly hoped it’d become one of those sweet stories of tradition they’d tell on campus tours.
So it’s us — Beth Burrafato and Greg Bach. There. Mystery solved. And I’m proud that this plaque marks an incredibly meaningful part of our journey and is cemented into Northwestern history. What started as a Willard romance turned into a rock-solid union now spanning nearly a quarter of a century.
Beth Burrafato Bach ’91
Mason, Ohio

Editor’s note: Read the entire story of Beth and Greg’s Northwestern romance.

Voting Restrictions

I was appalled by MBA graduate Dan Schuchardt’s letter [Feedback, winter 2016, page 8] suggesting that voting rights be curtailed to “intelligent voters.”
Voting is a constitutional right, and by what means would this “intelligence" be measured? A Northwestern MBA? The literacy tests that precluded people of color from voting in and before the 1960s required high intelligence, only for people of color. In fact, I took one of these tests, and even I, a Northwestern history major with a law degree, could not pass. I guess I lack the proper “intelligence.”
I’m embarrassed that a Northwestern graduate would admit in writing that the voting restriction laws are really about suppressing votes rather than the pretextual answer usually given, “protecting voting integrity.” A recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision held that the North Carolina law was designed to suppress minority turnout “with surgical precision.”
Gregory Antollino ’86
New York City

Famous Chicago Photographer

I saw the article “Kite Click” [Then, page 2, fall 2016] about Chicago photographer George R. Lawrence. 
Mr. Lawrence used his Mammoth camera to make an 8-foot-wide panoramic photograph of the Alton Limited train in 1900. I have attached an Android phone scan of the original 8-foot-wide Alton Limited photograph, which I own. The Library of Congress does not have this photograph. It only has a 39.5-inch-wide photograph of the Alton Limited that was made in 1905. The 1905 photograph was made with a different camera and depicts the train after it had been upgraded with a larger steam locomotive and with two additional Pullman passenger cars.
Tom Mosele

Gun Parts

Regarding your photo of Calvin Goddard in “Law School Lab Advanced Study of Ballistics” [Then, winter 2016]: That is a revolver cylinder that he’s examining, not a revolver barrel.
Elroy Osorio ’69
Hilo, Hawaii