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Letter To The Editor



The rest of the story

Grinnellian relates

Time traveler

Seeking a summary

Born too soon

Looking back at Lacey

Jogging memories

Crystal clear memory

Cornell community

Theater tradition

The rest of the story
The article that captured me in the summer issue was “Swinging at the Cole Bin,” and I write to you about it with great humility for I think you might like to know, as Paul Harvey says, “the rest of the story.” I believe I am the one who gave the name to the Cole Bin.

Before attending Cornell I earned money hauling ashes from people’s basements for 5 cents a bushel. These were days when every home had a coal bin in Erie, Pa. My friend and I earned our first money by taking the ashes to the city dump for neighbors and relatives. Probably some of my Cornell expenses were paid with that money.

So when President Cole’s house was opened as the student union, I thought it a very clever idea to call it the Cole Bin. I believe I can still remember the place I was walking when I suggested it. I don’t know who “took it from there” and made it official but it did stick. Now you know “the rest of the story.”
The Rev. Don Stuchen ’45
New York

Time traveler
I was very impressed with the recent issue of the Cornell Report. The articles on the student hangouts by decade made the reader travel through time, to be allowed to experience what those who came before or after did.
Mikkii Cassem Swanson ’91
Tolono, Ill.

Born too soon
The picture of Pfeiffer Hall brings back memories. It was built when I was there and made a great improvement over other places to eat. The money was raised by President Burgstahler, who may have been the best money-raiser for Cornell during the Depression or any other time. You refer to single-sex dorms as restrictions. Do you mean you also have mixed-sex dorms? I was born too soon.

The biggest change in college social life is the acceptance of beer drinking, which was taboo in my time. At my age (90) I like beer and drink it on occasion. There was no beer available at Cornell when I was there. That was during Prohibition. Evidence of drinking anywhere was grounds for expulsion. As President Burgstahler said in his frequent chapel lectures (with Harvard accent): “Thee is no bie nie hie. If thee were bie nie hie, we would not be hie” [translated: “There is no beer near here. If there were beer near here, we would not be here.”].
Ashley Foard ’32
Nampa, Idaho

Jogging memories
Thanks for jogging memories of the Cole Bin.
Carolyn Brown ’58

Cornell community
During the 1970s, many a casual conversation, Cornellian editorial, and all-campus forum focused on the idea of community. As best I recall, we never did figure out whether or not we had it on campus, though we agreed to keep seeking it.

Nearly 30 years later, whenever I sit down with the latest Cornell Report in hand, that community we sought back then reveals itself in new and different ways. Thanks for the revelations.
Allan J. Ruter ’76
Glenview, Ill.

Grinnellian relates
I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed the current Cornell Report. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane and I didn’t even attend Cornell! The memories of the Cornell social scene are remarkably similar to those of this Grinnellian, class of ’56. Our student union was an old barracks that was certainly humble but much beloved. The women had “hours” and very similar dorm life to that described by Susan Schwab Donovan ’66.

And of course the tribute to Stephen Lacey ’65 was so moving and appropriate. My girls both loved his classes. Congratulations on a wonderful issue.
Nancy Ross
Harlan, Iowa
Mother of Ann Ross Long ’84
and Lynn Ross ’87

Seeking a summary
I was interested to learn of professor Walter Williams’ recent appearance on campus. I certainly endorse the exposition of divergent points of view as part of the educational experience of Cornell students. Because his philosophic and economic perspectives are draped on the right wing (he is sort of the Clarence Thomas of talk radio) it would have been illuminating for us to have been given a precis of what he said as well as the responses of Dr. Allin and Dr. Olson.
John Stouffer ’51
Hingham, Mass.

Looking back at Lacey
I thought the summer 2000 Cornell Report was one of the best I have read over the years. I especially liked the story on Steve Lacey ’65, who was one of the wonderful and colorful upperclassmen who lived down the hall in my dorm in my sophomore year.
Ronald Vane ’67
Redwood City, Calif.

Crystal clear memory
My congratulations to Graham Pumphrey and Rhonda Reisdorff and their achievement of producing 800+ mg crystals of 2-(2,4-dinitrobenzyl) pyridine! I would like to correct a minor factual error in that the first synthesis of this compound at Cornell was on July 11, 1972, with a yield of a 250 mg crystal and a lot of “sand.” The best I was able to do that summer was a 400 mg whopper crystal that I still have now in two pieces. Please let Dr. Ault know that this kicker still cherishes the summer learning Beilstein German and the art of thinking and if we can recruit more people to open up blocked arteries in the middle of the night, I would look forward to a tour of the new buildings, although the old “library” chem building had a real charm. With fond memories of growing on the Hilltop,
Dr. Craig R. Kouba ’75
Fargo, N.D.

Theater tradition
It’s clear from the Charles Milhauser piece that Steve Lacey ’65 carried on the theater tradition begun at Cornell by Toppy Tull, who staged Shakespeare in several Cornell venues, including the Chapel. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, of course, was produced on the Chapel lawn. Any discussion of theater at Cornell (departmental or not) should include Toppy’s contributions. There had been theater at Cornell before his arrival, but it was he who engendered new appreciation by combining his productions with two of his courses—“Shakespeare and His Predecessors” and “Shakespeare and His Contemporaries.”

Professors Johnson (Al and Bertha) built on Toppy’s successes and shifted emphasis by focusing on professional training, eschewing the “Little” in “Little Theatre.” Jim Daly ’41, whose picture accompanies the article, was one of their proteges as was Bob Hartung ’39, Carl Weber ’55, Dean Keith Whitmore ’49, Frank Babcock ’44, Howard Orms ’43, Richard Allen Head Priborsky ’45, and many others who went on to notable stage and TV careers. Chet Webb ’38, who was himself a Johnson student, followed Al and Bertha and carried on in their tradition.

It’s reassuring to see that the rich contributions of theater are remembered at Cornell. The legacies of Stephen Lacey, Toppy Tull, the Johnsons, and Chet Webb are worth remembering.
Gordon L. Gray ’48
Glenside, Pa.

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