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Four Corners

Kudos for the article “A New Direction” (spring 2009). Much of my nonfiction reading has been about the plight of many American Indian tribes. Hopefully, programs such as this at DU’s Graduate School of Social Work will increase awareness of this much-neglected segment of our society and perhaps stimulate funding to support these much-needed programs.

Dolores Rusin (BA ’81)
Aurora, Colo.

Alumni connections

My fellow Hawaiian Club member Kenneth Yim — pictured in the spring 2009 magazine (Alumni Connections, page 37) — became my brother-in-law. I always knew that after my second year at the University of Hawaii I would transfer to a college or university on the mainland. I submitted numerous applications and soon after received letters of acceptance from UCLA and the University of Denver. I decided on DU. Upon my arrival at Stapleton Airport, I was greeted by fellow islanders who took me on a quick tour of downtown Denver before heading off to University Boulevard. Organizations and affiliations (PEM, Hui O Kanaka, Women’s Inter-hall Council, Women’s Recreation Association, Alpha Chi Omega) provided me with educational balance. Outstanding, nurturing faculty — including Dorothy Humiston — kept me focused. Chancellor Chester Alter — a visionary who guided the University “to face new challenges and responsibilities with courage and determination and faith” — inspired me to earn my degree. In June 2008 I met with my former roommates/sorority sisters Linda (Hughes) Villesvik (BFA ’58) and Adrienne (Johnson) Hynes (BS ’59). Although our residence hall no longer exists, we were able to relive, reminisce and chuckle heartily about our days at Denver University. What a special place! As we say in Hawaii: maika’i (excellent), imua (moving forward)!

Geraldine (Heirakuji) Meade (BA ’58)
Haleiwa, Hawaii

I was delighted to see the article about George Lof and his solar collector in the 2008 issue of the University of Denver Magazine (Alumni Connections, page 57). It brought back many memories. I was a chemical engineering student at DU in 1948 when Dr. Lof came to DU to head the chemical engineering department. The position was open because John Green, who had been head of the department, was killed in the spring of 1948 in a boating accident in the Platte Canyon along with Ralph Conrad and several members of both families. Dr. Lof directed the Industrial Research Institute most of the time that it went by that name. This institute had begun life as the Bureau of Industrial Research, which, I believe, was an adjunct to the chemical engineering department. Dr. Conrad was the original head of the bureau, thus Dr. Lof took both of the open positions in 1948. After Dr. Lof left and Shirley Johnson became the institute director, the name was changed again to the Institute of Industrial Research. A couple of years later the name was changed yet again to the University of Denver Research Institute, which has continued. As an undergraduate student I was able to earn a few extra dollars assisting on an hourly basis on some of these early projects. Dr. Lof brought a solar collector project with him when he came to DU. Bob Aldrich was the project supervisor. I believe the sponsor was the American Window Glass Co. of Chicopee Falls, Mass. Bob and I spent many hours climbing over the test solar collector, which had been built behind the Quonset hut that contained the institute offices and the chemical engineering labs. After graduation I went to work at the institute full time and continued there until 1957. Thanks for the memories.

George Custard (BSche ’50, MBA ’54)

I love the photo of the coeds in their dorm room that appeared in the winter 2008 issue (Alumni Connections, page 43). However, the statement that “In the 1950s students who lived on campus paid $249 for room and board each quarter” isn’t correct. I remember our weekly contributions of $5 apiece so the designated roomies could grocery shop. An entire $30 a week for us to eat on! There was a living room, kitchen, bath (with one sink) and two bedrooms in our apartment, and we had weekly Saturday inspections for housekeeping. There was one evening per quarter when we could have males in the apartment, as long as at least two roomies were present and the door was left open. I was on the committee that named the dorms, and we chose Colorado-type names such as Columbine, Aspen and Spruce for the various halls. We enjoyed listening to 45-rpm records such as “Blue Velvet” and “A House With Love In It” and went to the student union or our sorority houses for coffee during the break, which was scheduled so the downtown business students could commute back to the University Park campus. There were also weekly Wednesday chapel services at Buchtel Chapel. What a life!

Anne Pennington (BA ’59)
Lakewood, Colo.

DU radio

The nine lives of DU radio” (History, spring 2009) is hurtful to the students who worked so hard in the late 1960s to make possible what the article writes about starting in 1970. Andy Laird (attd. 1965-66), Bill Saul (BA ’69), Larry Jacobs (BA ’70), along with myself and many others, took KVDU from its limited classroom use in the mass communications building to its own facility on South York Street. This didn’t occur in 1947 as the article states; we did it in 1966. And, with no school funds, we built just about everything by hand. Your article refers to our “restrictive Top-40 play-list,” which is what the student listeners wanted at that time. You fail to mention that we also inaugurated KVDU’s first live play-by-play coverage of Pioneers hockey and basketball, began hourly newscasts and launched DU’s first campus interview program, on which one of my early guests was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The following year we obtained KVDU’s first-ever operating budget from the student government. All this, I’m proud to say, paved the way for John Wendorf and others to take the station to even greater heights. At least your photo is accurate: It shows Mr. Wendorf sitting at the console that Andy Laird and Bill Saul built.

Peter Funt (BA ’69)
Pebble Beach, Calif.

KCFR (now KVDU) in the ’70s was sort of a “sister station” to KUNM in Albuquerque, N.M., as they were both university FM stations run by students, with similar programming and identical frequencies (90.1 FM at the time). A few DJs who worked at KCFR also worked at KUNM and vice versa. KUNM’s former program director, Annette Griswold, worked at KCFR from around 1977 into the early ’80s and was instrumental in getting it established as an NPR station. Around the same time, they moved out of the old house on South York (which has since been torn down) and into new quarters on South Josephine or Columbine, I believe. As a side note, KGNU in Boulder was originally upstairs in the building on the mall where Old Chicago now is (or very near there), with minimal equipment and piles of records on the floor. It had all the appearances of a pirate radio station or a student/hippie record-and-tape freak’s living room (there were no CDs yet). It had similar programming to KUNM and KCFR (folk, blues, contemporary “underground” rock, feminist music, some Native American music, campus announcements, leftist news, etc.).

David Nereson


Faith still matters

I support 100-percent Don Burgess’ letter (Letters, spring 2009) and would like to see more faith-based articles or stories. It is heart-warming to read and sense the strength that Seph’s mother (“Saving Seph,” winter 2008) emanates because of her faith in God. This country is great because of its Christian foundation. “Political correctness” seems to apply mostly to Judeo-Christian principles, which are to be “hushed.” All other faiths can speak out because of being minority or different. I’m proud for being a naturalized U.S. citizen. Thank you for your consideration.

Rose Langland (MSW ’64)
Albuquerque, N.M.


Gender equality

In the winter issue (Letters, winter 2008), a reader applauds DU for its efforts to make the campus more gay-friendly. I remember DU as a very conservative place — at least the administration was (not so the psychology or philosophy professors). For example, in 1969 students expressed their outrage about Kent State by gathering together and camping out on a grass lawn on campus. The administration didn’t like that and called the Denver police. The police could not, or would not, make the students move. The administration called the governor and asked for help from the National Guard, which affixed bayonets to the ends of their rifles when they arrived on campus. In the end, the administration and the National Guard were triumphant: They were able to force the students to leave the lawn and go back to their dorms and apartments. It saddens me that DU students today have no knowledge of this history. I was therefore quite pleased to read about DU’s effort towards gender (and GLBTIQ) equality. It is a reason I can now be proud to be a DU alum.

Norman Malbin (BA ’71)
Portland, Ore.


Back to school

I enjoyed the article “Back to School” in the winter 2008 issue of your tasteful magazine. As a distant baby boomer, I discovered that I think along similar lines as those baby boomers you see around the campus, and I may end up doing one or the other of the kind of things that motivate their return to school. I admire the idea of an NGO that will focus on issues relating to ethnic relations in Nigeria, a country of more than 250 ethnic groups or tribes. Frequent conflicts among them constitute the greatest danger to national cohesion and existence. You can see why I like your magazine; it brings DU and the pioneer spirit to me. It provokes thoughts, prompts actions, and you share the sentiments of the larger community. I therefore congratulate the editorial team, and the editor in particular, for a good job and thank the University authorities for making sacrifices in all fronts to make DU the pride of the civilized world.

Lawrence Anene (MA ’84, PhD ’91)
Kaduna, Nigeria

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