- Steve Addazio's inaugural press conference as Boston College head football coach (pg. 9)
- Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch's keynote address at the Sesquicentennial symposium "Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education" (pg. 34)
- David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., on "New Evangelization for Today's Parish" (pg. 42)
- Guerilla Orchestra: the Callithumpian Consort and student musicians rehearse John Zorn's Cobra (pg. 10)
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I was delighted to read Jane Whitehead’s article “Public Defender” (Winter 2007). I am familiar with some of the work of Dr. Philip Landrigan ’63, both in my capacity as a municipal assistance coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and as a mother. In my work, I assist cities and towns to promote recycling and reduce waste, and to address the use of hazardous chemicals at schools and other municipal properties. As a mother of two, I’ve taken to heart Landrigan’s writing on pesticides in the diets of infants and children. The National Children’s Study will provide critical data, informing the effort to raise healthy children.
To reduce BC’s environmental impact, I would suggest reviewing the chemicals used in science labs, art studios, dorms, and other buildings, and on the grounds. One small step would be to print this magazine on recycled paper with soy-based inks.
Kathi Mirza ’88
Re “Blowback,” by John Agresto ’67 (Winter 2007): Mr. Agresto’s cynicism is palpable and suggests that everything he tried to do in Iraq was hopeless. But I believe he should be proud of his efforts to make a difference. As for his comments about the brashness of our young soldiers swearing at civilians, Mr. Agresto should be tolerant and forgiving of the young men and women who volunteer for a job that most BC graduates do not choose to do.
History will determine whether the United States had good intentions and prioritized its efforts correctly. I admire all Americans who take on the difficult jobs in service of our country.
Kathy Barkulis P’04
Deer Park, Illinois
In “Schools of Thought” (Winter 2007), Michael Buckley, SJ, teases the reader with claims of “significant improvement” in the quality of Jesuit education in the last 50 years, yet he offers no metric. He labels an earlier form of Catholic higher education “custodial” and describes contemporary classical efforts pejoratively as “counter institutions.”
Counter to what? To the present “support for religious and humanistic values” and “variant lines of Catholic tradition and thought,” we are told. Mormon, Episcopal, Methodist, and Baptist universities, and the Catholic teachings of non-Jesuit orders, also espouse a melding of humanism with natural law and Scripture. How, then, do they differ from Buckley’s vision of Jesuit or Catholic?
Richard H. Fitzgerald, MD, ’66
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
We have a clear idea of where Pope Benedict XVI stands on liberal Catholic colleges. Fr. Buckley can rationalize all he wants, but I don’t think he will be convincing to this pontiff.
Paul C. Ryan ’55
The picture on page 47 of the Winter issue is described as having been taken on campus on Tuesday October 6, 1953. Yet the students are wearing overcoats, there are no leaves on the trees, and there are small mounds of snow—conditions that never would occur so early in the season.
Charlie Gallagher ’58, MA’60
I read with interest the piece by Michael Buckley, SJ, in the Winter 2007 issue. However, the caption to its accompanying photograph appears to be incorrect in terms of not only the date, but also the event. My unscientific feel for the season would lead me to suppose that the image was taken in the month of March. We might be viewing a gathering of the Holy Name Society, or some sort of Lenten procession, or even a semireligious gathering such as a dedication ceremony. If it were an outdoor Mass (not likely in winter), I don’t think the men would be wearing hats.
Richard A. Duffy, MBA ’84
Editor’s Note: Messrs. Gallagher and Duffy are correct in spotting an error. While the photo was received on October 6, 1953, by a Boston College official, the verso, according to University archivist David Horn, reads, “Gasson outdoor rally, c. 1953. Please credit John Murphy, Boston Record American.” BCM would welcome hearing from readers about the actual nature of the rally.
I like that the essay on Dietrich Bonhoeffer (“Resistance,” by William Bole, Fall 2006) includes the writings and reflections of individuals who still draw inspiration from the German pastor’s resistance to Hitler.
The Nazi death machine also killed a young German Jesuit named Alfred Delp in 1945. Delp belonged to a group of German intellectuals called the Kreisau Circle who met during the rise of national socialism to plan a campaign of nonviolent resistance to Hitler. The Nazis executed him and some of his colleagues in 1945. The following link will provide more information for interested readers: www.companysj.com/v211/delpajesuit.htm.
Gene Roman ’82
New York, New York
With all due respect, and in the interest of grammatical correctness, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was not “hung,” but “hanged.”
Cindy Stafford ’08
Fr. Francis Murphy passed away on August 28 at the young age of 71. More than a good friend, he was also a great mentor and motivator—to me and to thousands of BC students over the years. Sometimes when I was in town on business, I’d stop by Carney Hall unannounced. Entering the first-floor hallway, you would instantly know whether he was in his office: If you saw a line of students wrapped around the corner, you knew Murph was in. If no students were in the hallway, I’d slip a note under his door, which was always rewarded with a call or letter a few days later.
“Murph,” as he signed his letters, was one of our history professors sophomore and junior year. I had a tough junior year. Though I was just one of his many students, Murph somehow recognized it, and he came to visit me at Walsh Hall one evening. We talked for an hour and he put my situation in perspective in a way that even an unsure-of-himself 19-year-old could understand. Murph made you think with his questions, as well as his answers to your questions. He gave a homily at my wedding in 1994 that my dad still talks about.
Doug Guyer ’83
I first heard of Fr. Frank Murphy in October of my freshman year. My friend Tom who lived down the hall had come back to the dorm in the early afternoon looking entirely fatigued, and I asked him where he had been. He told me that he had been playing racquetball with his history professor. “Whatever you do,” Tom said, “take a class from Fr. Murphy before you graduate. He’s the best.”
In my final semester at BC, I enrolled in a course that Fr. Murphy co-taught on post–World War II Europe. In what appeared to be an intentional deviation from BC’s early dot-com-era emphasis on integrating technology into the learning process, Fr. Murphy softly informed us on the first day of class that he did not know how to use e-mail, never checked his voicemail, and would much rather we visit him during his office hours or, preferably, meet him for lunch.
Within a month, I had been consumed by one of the now-forgettable (but at the time all-consuming) self-imposed dramas that tend to plague the lives of college seniors right around the time that lengthy writing assignments are due. Needing an extension and lacking any other recourse to contact my professor, I went to Fr. Murphy’s office in Carney Hall and knocked on the door. Entering his office was like traveling through time: The old man sat behind a metal desk in a nearly empty office, flanked by a black rotary-dial telephone and a manual Smith-Corona typewriter. I introduced myself. He already knew who I was and was concerned because I had missed class and failed to hand in my assignment. Before I could explain, he remarked that it was unseasonably warm, and asked me if I would like to talk with him while taking a walk across campus.
Doubtless knowing full well what I had come to ask him, he engaged me in a rather lengthy conversation about every conceivable subject except the one about which I most wanted to talk. He was concerned with my impression of the class, the history of my family, my post-college goals, and my plans for the weekend. When I was finally able to make a feeble attempt at explaining the circumstances that led to my absence, he apologetically informed me that it would not be fair to my classmates if I had extra time to complete the assignment and that he would have to reduce my grade accordingly. “Get the paper to me when you can,” he told me, “but check back with me next week and let me know if everything else has worked itself out.” To no one’s surprise—except maybe my own—the drama subsided, and the paper was completed within a couple of days. When I returned to Fr. Murphy’s office the following week, he feigned surprise at both.
Tonight, I attended a gathering hosted by BC alumni in the Dallas area for high school students admitted through BC’s early admission program. Several of the students wanted to know why they should choose BC over other prestigious schools to which they had also been admitted, and I tried to tell them about the relationships that many undergraduates at BC have with members of the faculty.
Matt Kita ’98
Editor’s Note: On page 40 of the Winter 2007 issue, the photograph of the U.S. Supreme Court chamber should have been credited: © Richard A. Bloom/Corbis. Also, Law Professor Daniel Kanstroom, whose work in creating the Boston College Immigration and Asylum Project was described in “Staying Here” (Spring 2006), has recently published Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History, with Harvard University Press. The book is available at a discount via www.bc.edu/bcm.
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 e-mail address is email@example.com.