@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

An Alumni Publication   Archive vol1no3 Contact
Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Campus Currents: UCSD Stories
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Campaign Update: Imagine the Future
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
The Places He Did Go
Buried Cities of Iraq
UCSD Admissions
A Poet In The Park
Making Waves

Antipodal Antics
One That Got Away
Oscar and Gollum
Library On The Loose
Making Nice With Mice


Up Front May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
Letters to the Editor    


I read with interest the article on the University’s athletic program. I found chemistry professor Barbara Sawrey’s comment saying, “we’re not interested in being known for our sports,” to be typical of the thought process that’s kept UCSD from reaching its full potential as an institution.

Having attended UCSD, I feel safe in saying that nobody (probably not even the athletic department) wants athletics or anything else to be prioritized at the expense of academics. But, quite frankly, the over-the-top view of academics as the only thing that matters, which is still pervasive on campus, is detrimental to the overall development of the students as people and the idea of college years as being a time for personal growth.

Athletics and a variety of other student activities, if allowed to flourish, could really assist in making UCSD a better place socially and in terms of school spirit. That doesn’t mean lowering of admission standards or turning UCSD into a football factory, just giving the program some latitude and support to grow within
parameters set down by the University.
As it is now, everyone on the campus kowtows to the faculty, even on issues that really don’t concern them. I hope this article starts some meaningful dialogue about improving the areas where UCSD is clearly lacking in comparison to other universities.
- Colin Portman
  El Cajon, CA

I was dismayed to read the article by Kelli Anderson in January’s edition of @UCSD.

How could there possibly be an article on moving UCSD sports to Division I without mentioning my father, Howard F. Hunt, Ph.D? How was this humanly possible?

Howard Hunt came to the UCSD Department of Physical Education in 1965, appointed director of athletics by Ted Forbes. He later became chair, and is to this day the longest holder of a chair position in UCSD’s history.

Howard Hunt’s contribution to UCSD was profound. He set out to shape a department that would serve each individual student in the spirit of a rich liberal arts education. To that end, he set the standard for valuing intramural sports and related athletic clubs and activities over “the general public’s need for entertainment” (Ms. Anderson’s article).

To omit him from this article suggests not only lazy and incomplete research, but a superficiality that I feel continues to threaten the character of UCSD.

It is articles like these that stop me from being a donor, and from finding ways to use my position and success to support the efforts of the UCSD Alumni Association.
- Robyn Hunt, ’74, M.F.A. ’78
  Professor, School of Drama
  University of Washington

I enjoyed the inaugural issue of @UCSD very much. My years as an undergraduate at UCSD left me with a great education and many fond memories.

I read the article by Kelli Anderson, “To Play or Not to Play”, with particular interest. I am a faculty member at the University of Iowa, one of the Big-10 schools and a NCAA Division I university. I understand the desire of some students and members of the athletics program at UCSD for a move to NCAA Division I sports. When I left UCSD for graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I found myself enjoying the excitement of “big-time” collegiate sports.

However, my overall experience in Madison and, for the last 13 years, at the University of Iowa convinces me that a very substantial price is paid for high-profile collegiate athletics. The price consists of dollars (although the complexities of university bookkeeping can confound this argument), academic integrity and, most importantly in my view, the time and energy of the university leadership. I am proud that UCSD has not pursued big-time athletics and I share my pride with other people.
- Andy Robertson, ’81
  Professor, Department of Biochemistry
  University of Iowa

I went to the University of Michigan for Graduate School so I know what it’s like to be at a very athletic oriented campus. I urge the decision makers to NOT go in that direction. The decisions that get made about funding and priorities once an institution commits to that level result in athletics being “top dog” and the intramural and academic programs taking a back seat. It’s human nature—it costs money but it brings in more and everyone gets addicted to that revenue stream. And if the school is unlucky enough to get “bad apples” on the athletic team or department, there is so much energy drawn away from the real reason for the University—to learn, explore and grow.
- Karen Rosenberg, ’79

I read the article on UCSD Athletics (“To Play or Not to Play”) in the January 2004 issue of the alumni magazine and I must say I've never heard an undergraduate student say “I wish this was a Division I school.” In fact, I've heard many students complain that such a high percentage of the Student Fees go to fund Division II athletics, when such a small percentage of the student population are involved.

The lack of community at UCSD stems from the fact that such a small percentage of students can live on campus. Even though there was an effort made last year to allow more sophomores to live on campus when Housing converted many doubles into triples, being crammed into dorm rooms like sardines is not going to entice more students to live here.

A small percentage of vocal students (mainly athletes), with a lot support from the administration, have tried to get student fees increased to support athletics but recently, those attempts have been voted down by students.

Your article did not at all portray the current atmosphere accurately; it read more like propaganda to help the administration (and perhaps alumni association) achieve some hidden goal, rather than a truthful report on student views.
- Laura Kemmer, graduate student, Cognitive Science


Let me first commend all of you on a fine job with this inaugural issue of the new UCSD alumni magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the articles, and I want to thank you for your efforts.

After coming across the obituaries section of the magazine, I was shocked as I read that Professor Patrick Ledden had died last October. Professor Ledden left a lasting impression on me the moment I met him.

In 1994, I went to a pre-freshman orientation to meet other soon-to-be Tritons from all around the country. I was quite nervous and Professor Ledden, provost of John Muir College made it a point to come and talk to every single incoming freshman at Muir.

I remember him pulling up a chair next to me and we talked for several minutes. He asked me where I was from, and why I had decided on attending UCSD over my other options. He also asked me why I wanted to major in Bioengineering. Before he moved on to the next student, I remember him telling me that if I ever needed anything during my time at UCSD, not to hesitate to come and talk to him.

His door was always open.
Kevin Lowitz, ’98


I enjoyed your article on athletics at UCSD as I was the first captain of the UCSD baseball team 1968-70. We had very limited practice facilities and had to play all of our ‘home’ games at various fields around San Diego. I don’t know that the academic pressures at UCSD could co-exist with the time demands of scholarship-financed Division I athletic programs. While I enjoyed my days playing baseball, it is the education that I use everyday.

I also enjoyed your short article on Herbert Marcuse. I took a minor in political philosophy to learn more about Marxist economics. Marcuse was amazing in his course as he boiled capitalism and communism down to a choice between Marx and Mill and an individual’s belief system about who owns the product when he or she mixes their labor with ‘nature.’ I also have to note that the 35 years since I took that course have proven Mill to be the correct view of economic reality. Communism has collapsed around the world because of what western economists call the ‘free rider’ problem.

I think UCSD’s problems with poor alumni support will start to ease with the continuing publication of @UCSD. What I find amazing is the fact that the name of the magazine would have made no sense to my graduating class in 1970. Keep up the good work.
- Jeff McCombs, ’70

I liked the “Looking Back” column on the early days of Third College. I was there and remember the period very well. The administration was really worried that crazies were coming to riot on campus and the good residents of La Jolla were a bit apprehensive. In the end things turned out fine and UCSD provided a great
environment for learning.
- Richard Lowe, ’72

At UCSD during the ’60s we experienced exceedingly intense interactions with fellow students, our faculty and the community. I remember riding my bike to
the Salk Institute and witnessing a phalanx of riot-geared police about to march onto campus; the self- immolation of a fellow student in protest of the war; the People-to-People program started by Professor John Holland, in which students and faculty accepted invitations into the community to try, one-on-one, to bridge the gap between the predominantly anti-war sentiment on campus and distrustful conservative members of the San Diego community.

It is a personal tragedy to me that the intense UCSD relationships of the ’60s have been essentially followed by a vacuum from the campus. What’s become of my fellow students and our brilliant, humane faculty leaders of those times? It would be a joy to reunite to honor the past and contemplate the paths we’ve taken to present understanding.

Are there any plans for class reunions? Count me in, if so!
- Marie Eisen Davis, ’71

Response: Thanks very much for the note and impassioned plea to reconnect with classmates. There are a number of avenues to do so—the alumni website at www.alumni. ucsd.edu has a vibrant online community and directory search capability to find your friends. We are currently reviewing our reunion program, but in the meantime, alumni events on campus and nationwide through our regional and affinity chapters are a great source for reconnecting. A calendar of such events can be found in the Alumni Tidings section of this issue (page 38), and is e-mailed regularly to alumni through Campus Loop e-newsletter. Sign up online if you don’t receive it.
- John Valva,
  Executive director of the Alumni Association

I really enjoyed the new alum magazine. I would love to see a piece about the art/film department of yesteryear. I remember one day when a group of us drove up to San Clemente to join Jane Fonda at the western white house protesting Nixon’s meeting with President Thieu of South Vietnam. We drove back to UCSD that night to attend a screening of Letter to Jane by Jean-Luc Godard who was there in person to talk about his film. That was quite a surreal moment.
- Nancy Stevens Elsaesser, ’74