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“Justice for All,” “Church Life,” “Team Work,” “Incoming,” “Battle Scars,” “Residential Life,” “Word Play,” “Vantage Point”
Justice for all
Re “Best Friend,” by Zachary Jason (Summer 2016): It was wonderful to read about the legal work being done by Justin Marceau ’00 on behalf of non-human animals and in opposition to the death penalty. Expanding the circle of compassion is the highest calling one can aspire to. It makes me proud of my profession, the law, to read about such a colleague.
Jane Hoffman ’75
New York, New York
Re “Foundational,” by Seth Meehan, Ph.D.’14 (Summer 2016): As medical professionals in training and in practice at what is now Boston University Medical Center, between the years 1962 through 1984, my wife, Barbara, and I were comforted by the proximity of the “Immaculate” and the many Masses offered by the Jesuits. Medical students, residents, medical faculty, Boston College nursing students, staff nurses, and many other hospital support personnel mingled at the Immaculate with neighbors of the parish, many of whom had fallen on very hard times and for whom the Immaculate was a safe haven.
Jesuit priests were always available, at the Immaculate and in our hospital across the street, counseling, mentoring, or administering the Sacraments. The priests were seamlessly integrated into our healthcare team, especially in the emergency rooms. The loss of the Jesuits and the Immaculate from the South End, and from the Harrison Avenue medical community, is diminishing for all.
Peter J. Deckers,
Barbara A. Deckers ’63, P’89
Re “High Fly,” by Grant Salzano ’10 (Summer 2016): Whenever I visited head coach Mike Gambino’s office for an interview, a small plaque sitting on his desk stood out: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” There always seemed to be a limit, though, to what Gambino’s BC baseball team could do.
In his first four seasons as head coach (2011–14), his teams went a combined 71–140. They had everything going against them: the New England weather, the long travel, the lack of a permanent stadium or indoor facility. And yet Gambino always said that while people thought those were all the reasons why Boston College wouldn’t win, they were exactly why they would. He was building a program of toughness and character.
Sure enough, this spring, the Eagles won an NCAA regional and came within one win of going to Omaha for the College World Series. Gambino never seemed to doubt they would one day get there, and I’m sure he has no doubt they’ll be back for another try.
Gregory Joyce ’13
The author was a sports editor for the Heights.
Re “June 28, 2016,” by Zachary Jason (Summer 2016): John Mahoney ’79, director of undergraduate admission, is on target when he talks about the commoditization of higher education and the frenzy and anxiety around admission. Students and parents are bombarded with information about colleges and universities and with the myths that often accompany the application process. John has long been a clear-headed, balanced spokesperson in the admission profession. He is highly regarded for his personal ethics and has advocated consistently for what is in the best interest of students.
Patricia Casey ’75, M.Ed.’81
Newton Centre, Massachusetts
As the director of undergraduate admission at Boston College from 1980 to 1989, I was proud to read how my successor, John Mahoney, and his team make the campus visit so inviting, thorough, and genuine. What stood out is the extent to which the Boston College admission officers, student panelists, and tour guides go to present the University as it is and not to hype it. The Boston College experience does not need to be sold, simply related.
Charlie Nolan, Ph.D. ’88, P’05
Delray Beach, Florida
The high school students that I counsel often return from their visit to Boston College more engaged in the process of college admission and more able to articulate the reasons for submitting an application.
It is admirable that Boston College keeps the prospective students, their understanding of the University, and the search for the “right fit” central in its admission practices. It is cura personalis from the very beginning.
Suzanne Timmons Wilzbach ’06, MA’14
The author is a guidance counselor at Boston College High School.
“June 28, 2016” smartly captures the important work of Boston College’s undergraduate admission office, and reminds me how grateful I am for the time I spent there with the student admissions program, which overlapped with John Mahoney’s first years leading the office.
I now work as a college counselor at a high school where Boston College is a popular destination. When my students return from a string of campus visits, they generally report that the information sessions blur together, making one campus indistinguishable from another. That doesn’t happen when they visit Boston College. They remember what the students had to say in those sessions about what defined their Boston College
Patrick Dwyer ’91
Mr. Jason’s article contains a reference to a campus poetry reading by Robert Frost. In 1957, the Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu, hosted a poetry reading by Mr. Frost. Gasson Hall was the venue and the room was packed for the poet laureate of America. I had the honor of introducing him. He came to the podium with no notes and proceeded to perform each poem magnificently. He also gave a brief introduction of how he came to write each poem. “This poem is about ants” he said about one. “When I was a small boy sitting on the curb and poking a stick at a group of ants I noted the regimentation of each ant. Later I wrote theses words and called it, ‘Organization’.”
At the end the students went wild cheering and stamping their feet. Up jumped the Jesuit on stage, and he bellowed, “Silence.” As quiet ensued Robert Frost roared, “Silence! A poet lives for this type of response. Let them be.” The cheers arose again and followed each poem. He recited for more than an hour. It was an idyllic experience.
John F. Ryan ’57
Re “War-Torn,” by William Bole (Summer 2016): Thomas Dodman’s research into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among soldiers of the Napoleonic and French colonial wars sheds further light on this condition. Dodman’s planned research into PTSD among soldiers of the French Revolution will, I believe, be equally successful.
PTSD is a likely outcome in every armed conflict. It is an ordinary human reaction to war’s extraordinary experiences. Sophocles accurately captured its symptoms about 2,500 years ago in his plays Ajax and Philoctetes. He describes with surprising clarity the nightmares, flashbacks, and explosive anger found among veterans of the Trojan War. It is very likely that PTSD is as old as war itself.
Timothy F. O’Leary Jr. ’66
Re “Elegy for Edmond’s,” by Zachary Jason (Summer 2016): I recently I suggested that a friend take his high-school-age son to Boston College for an interview. I told him about my times at Boston College, the quality of the education, the life-long friends, and the incredible luck I had in securing on-campus housing. My freshman housing assignment was The Reservoirs – a.k.a. Edmond’s Hall. Top floor, center of the corridor with a commanding view of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I was in heaven.
When I read that the tower was to be demolished, I went into denial. When my friend returned from the Heights and told me that the building was already partially leveled, I was horrified and exclaimed, “But it’s brand new!” He responded, “It’s 40 years old.” Never did I feel so old. I remain horrified!
Michael A. Voccola ’80
Cranston, Rhode Island
Re “Mystery Man,” by Paul Mariani (Summer 2016): Congratulations to Paul Mariani on the publication of The Whole Harmonium, his well received biography of Wallace Stevens.
I started to read the poetry of Wallace Stevens as an economics undergraduate, without understanding any of it but taking great pleasure from Stevens’s wordplay, especially in the titles he chose for his poems.
These many years later I still tend to read Stevens at this base level, but find with increasing age and experience that Stevens’s poetry navigates the trade routes of the mind.
Gaffney J. Feskoe ’71
Boston College Magazine is and has been a beautiful publication. I enjoy the articles on student activities and am in awe at the many and widespread challenges the University puts in front of its students.
I am finally acknowledging a debt to Boston College. It has taken a change in perception to realize the benefits of BC’s positive approach. It takes time to mature.
Robert Berube ’57
BCM welcomes letters from readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and must be signed to be published. Our fax number is (617) 552–2441; our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.