Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Letters

Nice surprise

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the most recent issue of the Quarterly.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Onyedikachi [“Kachi”] Udeoji ’12 featured in “A minute with....” Kachi is a good friend of my daughter, Kara Fierro ’12, and has visited our home on several occasions since freshman year. I like to think we have been a “home away from home” to Kachi when he misses his native Nigeria! I also enjoyed the article on the cryptologists on the Wheaton campus during the war. Thanks for keeping Wheaton parents connected to campus through the magazine.

—Amy Fierro P’12

Good cover to cover

I graduated from Wheaton in 1967. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve read the Quarterly from cover to cover! I know it was impressive when we were there, but not nearly as impressive as it has become! From President Crutcher’s talk about the opening of the new Mars Center to Rebecca Sieburth’s [Class of 2011] interests in medicine and art to Professor Evans’s collaborating with NASA to the article “Gaining perspective” by Professor Gail Sahar, the spring issue was captivating. I found particularly fascinating the article “Code breakers: The secret service” by Zephorene Stickney. I missed that era, luckily, but I found the article utterly fascinating.

I want to thank you for putting out such a wonderful Quarterly, Sandy, Hannah, Lisa, David and Barbara. The whole thing was marvelous!

—Sarah “Sally” Walker ’67

Interesting spring issue

I just want to say that I really enjoyed the spring Quarterly, with all the different articles and information. I have always enjoyed the issues, but this one was much more interesting. Keep up the good work!

—Hilary Thomson Kenyon ’57

Additional note on a cappella

I’d like to add to the history of a cappella singing at Wheaton, which was featured in an interesting article in the spring Quarterly.

In 1945 there were no a cappella groups at Wheaton, so I gathered seven students who sang in the choir to form a group. We performed at dances and called ourselves “The Merry Lions.” On my graduation, I left the music and responsibility to continue in the capable hands of Barbara Murphy ’49, who kept me informed of their ongoing success and name change to “The Wheatones,” a perfect name! It is gratifying to know their voices and those of the Whims and the Gentlemen Callers are filling the air with a cappella music.

—Marie Williams Petersen ’47

Magazine engages

Neither my wife nor I ever attended Wheaton, but two of our sons attended Wheaton-affiliated schools (Ames preschool and Pinecroft elementary) when we lived in Norton several years ago, which is probably why we receive the Wheaton Quarterly. I also read the RISD and Yale alumni magazines (as our respective alma maters), and have considered your publication equally well produced. However, you outdid yourselves for spring 2011.

This was the first one I found myself reading cover to cover (save perhaps some of the class notes and necrology), and I don’t think I’ve ever done likewise for a RISD or Yale issue. The stories and profiles were written in a highly engaging style, and the generous use of photographs complemented each piece extremely well. If there are competitions for alumni publications, you should submit this issue. You’re hitting your stride. Keep it up and you’ll likely exceed all your fundraising targets, too—I don’t know how any Wheaton alum could be anything less than bursting with pride after reading that issue.

—Glenn Gutmacher

Thanks for Sahar’s account

My wife, Deborah Lewis Rodecker ’67, shared with me Professor Sahar’s article, “Gaining perspective,” that appeared in the spring 2011 Wheaton Quarterly.

I was very interested to read Dr. Sahar’s account of her visit to the Middle East. Her article reminded me very much of my own experiences from almost 20 years ago, when I visited the same area as one of 17 members of a delegation from the North Carolina Council of Churches. The delegation with which I traveled consisted of men and women from many faith communities, including Christians, Jews and a Muslim imam.

In our travels throughout Israel and the occupied territories, we met representatives from virtually every perspective on the matter of the Palestinian/Israeli experience, including soldiers, representatives of the Israeli government, settlers, Palestinian activists, and various religious leaders. Each of us spent time with families in refugee camps. My host during my stay in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip was a fifth grade teacher in a boys’ school run by the United Nations.

Without going into detail about my own experiences, my observations were much the same as Dr. Sahar’s. I especially appreciated her last paragraph in which she stated: “This amazing trip allowed me to directly observe the complexity of the people and the situation. There was no excuse for taking mental short cuts. What I saw was a group of people who are trying to live normal lives and even thrive in incredibly difficult circumstances. They could be you or me.”

Thank you for printing what my experiences lead me to know to be a very objective account of the difficulty of daily life for people living in untenable conditions. It is through eyewitness accounts such as Dr. Sahar’s that we can all learn how, in spite of our differences, we are all—Palestinian, Israelis and Americans—very much the same. Perhaps when we recognize this, we can then find a way to live together peacefully.

—Robert Rodecker

Sahar’s reflection resonates

As an ardent seeker of peace, security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians, I was heartened by Professor Gail Sahar’s comprehensive account of her personal experiences in the Middle East, as featured in the spring 2011 Wheaton Quarterly. With clarity, insight and without judgement, she brought to light the realities of Palestinian daily life—a perspective rarely depicted in our U.S. media.

Unlike Professor Sahar, I have no family connection to the region; rather I was first introduced to the complex and opposing Israeli–Palestinian narratives during a 1995 study/pilgrimage with my Wheaton roommate, Susan Johnson Morrison ’68. Since then I have pursued a passion for justice and have worked to lay out a more comprehensive understanding of the political, social and economic variables. Dedicated to education and advocacy for a just and sustainable resolution of the conflict, I have founded and currently direct two U.S. nonprofit organizations. Each year I return to Jerusalem to live and work with peacemakers, which is vital to inform my work and keep up to date with constantly changing dynamics.

Professor Sahar’s encouraging message of humanity and hope resonates with my experiences. Upholding human dignity of all peoples and ensuring human rights for all under international law provide the standard for my work. According to the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), numerous U.N. resolutions (for example, U.N. resolutions 242 and 194) and the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), Israel is an occupying power. Thus the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are Occupied Palestinian Territories, controlled by Israel. Based on the pre-1967 borders, they constitute the land that is internationally recognized as the future sovereign Palestinian state. Following 1967, the settlement enterprise has relocated almost 500,000 Israelis into the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention to the aforementioned legal documents.

The Separation Wall in its current configuration was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice (July 9, 2004) as its circuitous route expropriates West Bank land. How can this barrier enhance Israeli security when its path often separates Palestinians from Palestinians? Since 1948 when 750,000 Palestinians were made refugees and 536 Palestinian villages were destroyed, Palestinians have continued to lose land and resources.

In spite of these violations of international law, my hope lies with Israelis, Palestinians and internationals who continue to resist injustice, work non-violently and seek a true peace with justice.

—Mary Lou Leiser Smith ’68

Kudos

In addition to the Wheaton Quarterly, I receive two university alumni magazines. They are excellent, but yours is consistently upbeat, with a stupendous range of subjects carefully chosen and extremely well told. Thank you to you and your staff.

—Marion Lanphear Naifeh ’49

Generations story delights

My copy of the Wheaton Quarterly arrived late yesterday. I pounced upon it eagerly and was charmed by your “Generations” article. I cannot remember having seen that picture of my mother. What a delight! The entire article reflected so much life, happiness and enthusiasm, which is typical of Wheaton. I appreciate being included with my family as part of the scene.

—Marguerite “Rita” Temple Russell ’43

Family tree addition

Having just finished the latest Wheaton Quarterly, I thought it worthwhile to contact you regarding my family tree. I am the youngest of the four daughters my parents sent to Wheaton. That has to be some sort of record. We are:
Barbara Sokolosky Meloni ’77, Suesan Sokolosky Randlett ’78,
Mary Jean Sokolosky Labbe ’80 and Paula Sokolosky Nulty ’87.

—Paula Nulty ’87

Code breaker

We gave you another code to break in the summer issue of the Quarterly. We made it harder than the previous one, courtesy of Professor of Mathematics William Goldbloom Bloch. Looks like we did a good job. Only one person wrote in with a solution, as of press time. Congratulations, Rebecca Epstein ’08.

She figured out that ULIKI  LUVHH   LIYIF   NYVIT   PIZFH   GSVXL   MMVXG   RLMYV   GDVVM   ULLWZ   MWIVO  RTRLM RHGSV HGFUU LUHXS  LOZIH  SRK translates into “For Professor Brumberg-Kraus, the connection between food and religion is the stuff of scholarship.”

I returned home from Commencement to find that my summer Quarterly had arrived. I enjoyed the code-breaking challenge from the spring issue and solved it within an hour. When I saw that Professor Goldbloom Bloch created a more challenging code for this issue, I got to work attempting to solve it. This time I had to take a few breaks to quell my frustrations, and it took the better part of five hours to solve. (I’m a bit stubborn.)

My initial step was to write out the entire code in one big line, sans spaces. I assumed it would be another Wheaton-related code, but nothing was really jumping out at me as the motto eventually did last time. The number of double letters in a row was a bit confounding, even though I was aware that they could be spread out over multiple words. I ended up counting out the number of instances each letter appeared in the code (10 Ls, nine Vs, eight Is, etc.) and tried to plug in some of the most commonly used letters (E, T), and see if I could fit words off of that, also looking for common three- and four- letter words like “and,” “the,” and “that” to see if they fit, and plugging in other letters throughout the code. This still wasn’t really working for me. Eventually, I decided to do what I had done as my first step on the previous Quarterly code, which was writing out the alphabet and then writing out other potential codes underneath it and plugging those letters in the code to see if it could potentially work. One of the first things I tried was reversing the alphabet (A=Z, B=Y, C=X, etc.), and once I started using that to solve the code, it was quickly apparent that it was forming words and not gibberish like some of my earlier attempts, and it also confirmed my suspicions that it was another Wheaton-related code.

If Professor Goldbloom Bloch decides to create another code for the Quarterly, hopefully, I’ll be able to use what I’ve learned over the past two challenges to solve it more quickly!

Thanks for another stimulating challenge!

—Rebecca Epstein ’08