To the Editor


Spring 2017 Cover

We got lots of mail about the last issue and discovered there are a lot of alums out there who love birding and walking the Storrs campus; they were thrilled to have a story melding the two. Readers also applauded UConn Hartford’s move to the city center, the University’s recognition of Dee Rowe, using social media to enhance teaching methods, and Erik Hines’ work raising the graduation rate for black men.

Get in touch! Email me at or leave a comment on our website.

Tom’s Trivia question 3 says Winter Weekend began in 1979. The first Winter Weekend was in March of 1955. I say this because I was a co-chair with Peg Quicker from Long Island. The only ill-advised activity was a dogsled race — there was no snow, so wheels were added to the sleds. An innovation was added in the form of a “Royal Family” as opposed to a Queen of Winter Weekend, a Queen, King, Prince and Princess. Find a ‘55 Year book and check it out.

Kenneth Halpern ’55 (BUS), ’58 JD,
West Palm Beach, Florida, via email

Editor’s Note: Indeed, it appears Winter Weekend declined throughout the sixties and was defunct by the early seventies, then got revived.

Question 4 of Tom’s Trivia Summer 2017 talks of Oil Can Alley. In the mid 1950s, when my father was a new addition to the UConn faculty, my family briefly lived
in an apartment in one of several frame buildings on the north side of campus. While it is true that our apartments were heated by kerosene stored in large drums in front of the building, I don’t recall ever hearing our buildings referenced as Oil Can Alley. Rather, everyone in town called our settlement Rainbow Alley, because each of the several buildings was painted a different color.

Joe Tag
via our website

In 1967, one of the “highlights” of the Pied Piper parade (“Tom’s Trivia,” question 4) was a tug-of-war across Mirror Lake — freshmen vs. upperclassmen. Nothing like getting dragged through a duck pond to start the year off right. I think I know why that tradition ended!

Maureen Croteau ’71 (CLAS),
Vernon, Connecticut, via our website

Tom’s Trivia: Great questions as always.

Tris Carta,
via our website

Your fall edition is very eye-catching. The article about the birds of UConn and Dr. Rubega was especially interesting to me. And the article about Dr. Hines, too, since my daughter has similar work at the U. of Iowa. I’m an old English teacher, though, and I just can’t shake it: Ms. Balsinger (“Job Envy,” inside back cover) “has lain under the gleaming aurora borealis…” 

Jeffrey A. Bouvier ’82 Ph.D.
Hollywood, Florida, via our website

Thank you for raising awareness of the amazing wonder of what lies before us if we have but eyes to see and ears to hear. This conjoins the deep pleasures of birding and the UConn campus.

Roger J. Cherney ’73 (CLAS),
Newton, New Jersey, via our website

This was wonderful. I worked at and later attended UConn in the late ’70s. There were lots of birds and ducks by the pond. I definitely did not bird watch as much as this article reveals I could, which means I need to go back and do some serious walking — early. A friend’s daughter has just started school at UConn so will forward this on to her too. This was a great tour. The class sounds really enjoyable.

Catherine Belanger ’81 (CLAS),
South Windsor, Connecticut, via our website

It’s nice to see Twitter being used in a productive manner, if you catch my drift.

Bruce Gerber, UConn employee ’83-’11,
Coventry, Connecticut, via our website

I love this! What a clever idea to use Twitter and the interpretation is great!

Laura Rogers-Castro,
via our website

What a wonderful article! Margaret, thank you so much for the inspiration you give to your students and to us. 

Kathleen Moore Van der Aue ’62 (CLAS),
Southport, Connecticut, via our website

I spent a lovely week teaching art students (2 years ago, in autumn I think), and we worked largely around the beautiful little lake. I also went by bike through the area of the horses. Wonderful country. I live on a millstream (part time) just outside Vienna, Austria. I love birds! Thank you for awakening a sensitivity to birds among the UConn students.

Very interesting about those starlings. They come here in droves in the spring and make a great racket in the trees for a few days, and then disperse. I have lots of mallards here, the odd egret, kingfishers… all cherished company. I wish you the best of luck with your fine work!

With best wishes,

Huck Scarry,
via our website

What a wonderful article! Margaret, thank you so much for the inspiration you give to your students and to us. 

Chandra Roychoudhuri,
via our website

Reading this article was such fun — good writing and excellent photos with fabulous Twitter feeds. Thanks!

Debbie McMillan ’82 MBA,
via our website

“Thriving cities exert a gravitational force on communities around them, pulling people in.”

This is the first lesson for not only Hartford residents, but the tens of thousands of suburban commuters who earn their livelihoods here and then thumb their noses at the city as they drive back home each night. If Hartford fails, it takes down huge swaths of the state — if not the entire state — with it! Supporting the myriad efforts to rebuild Hartford’s economy and bolster its image is something we should all be doing because it is something we all benefit from. (That is why renovating and rejuvenating the XL Center must be made a priority, even in these dire financial times.)

“Those of us who have lived here over the last 20 years can recite a litany of losses and failures, indignities and dashed hopes.”

This leads to the second lesson: It can feel nearly impossible to hold on to hope when so many previous attempts have proved fruitless. But hope springs eternal if you let it, and there is new blood being pumped in to these efforts every day. Transplants like my husband and me don’t bear the burden of memory. We live here joyfully, invest here enthusiastically, and are committed to making this town into the gem of a small New England city that it can be and I believe — as clearly many others do — will be! Thank you, Rand Richards Cooper, for this uplifting article that nonetheless has its feet planted firmly on the ground.

Cie Peterson,
Hartford, Connecticut, via our website

This article covers so many aspects of Hartford, a city that I have been rooting for — in itself a frustrating task. I was fortunate to be involved in the first year of the "Urban Semester" program at the University of Connecticut, in the fall of 1968. It was challenging, but the program ran for a number of years and was eventually taken over by the UConn School of Social Work. Several years later, I taught for a time in a North End elementary school, while living in the city. There was a lack of community at the time, and not enough common spaces in which to interact with fellow citizens. I moved on, but always kept an interest in the city.

Fast forward: My wife and I began visiting the "Quiet Corner" in the recent past, and we visited Hartford on occasion. The impact of moving the "urban campus" to its new site is brilliant, yet logical. Connecting UConn Storrs to Hartford has the potential to elevate the impact in many positive ways and extending the "Busway" from Storrs to Hartford is one more example of using existing resources to facilitate commuting.

Hal Posselt ’69 (CLAS),
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, via our website

What a beautiful addition to Hartford. The Hartford branch that I attended in 1952–1954 was in the rickety old Hartford High School building on Broad Street, across from the Hartt School of Music. Oh, to be young again!

Robert J. Tanguay ’58 (BUS),
St. Pete Beach, Florida

Dr. Hines seems to understand the barriers confronting black men at every age and stage of life in America. While America can be a beautiful place to live, it can also be harsh, and so can UConn. It would be great if we did not have to parse life by race, gender, class, and at times by age. After all my years, I understand why it’s difficult for some Americans to get why such programs are necessary. When people live most of their lives in a homogenized community, or in neighborhoods of privilege, the need for diversity, inclusion, and adding the kinds of supports that have been normalized can be a bit startling at first. We should wonder why is it that after the resources are counted and distributed the numbers for black men almost always seem to lag. We are not naturally slow, lame, or lazy. When and wherever we have been given the right tools, nurtured, and supported we thrive. Thanks to Dr. Herbst for hiring staff and giving a green light to support development success and intellectual competitiveness at all levels and in every way.

Like Dr. Hines I was born and reared in Florida, but I was reared under Jim Crow. When I arrived at UConn, albeit at one of the graduate programs we needed to develop systems of support to manage the nagging and ever present micro-aggressions while competing in the classrooms. 500 students out of 19,000, wow. I take my hat off to Dr. Hines and know that his work will not be in vain. If there is anything I can do to support your work please let me know.

Amos Smith ’79 MSW,
Hamden, Connecticut, via our website

Such a great idea! I wish we’d had this when I was a kid. I loved the idea that this could inspire kids to use the scientific method in their daily lives. So true! The scientific process isn’t a complex or lofty idea; it’s a logical process that can be used our entire lives to approach our daily dilemmas. If nothing else, it would be great if kids had that as their take-away. 

Lynn Roesler,
via our website

I just want to add my congratulations to Dee Rowe! I was administrative assistant in Athletics for 10 years (under John L. Toner) and remember Dee well. I hope he remembers me! He was, and is, a great guy and so deserving of this award. I live in San Antonio, Texas, or I would most definitely be ordering tickets to attend this award ceremony in his honor. I hope there will be something online later. He was and is a great guy and so deserving of this award.

God bless you Dee, still working at 88; you are amazing!

Nancy Manley,
 San Antonio, Texas, via our website

Coach Rowe is a man for all ages. He was a mentor, second father, and friend who taught me how to be a team member, community leader, and a productive citizen. He is truly deserving of “Legendary” status. 

William A. DeGrazia ’71 (ED),
Cheshire, Connecticut, via our website

Congratulations and really deserved, Coach. I’m proud to say we started our UConn careers together in 1969. Boy, time flies. All the best to you and your family.

Lee Savel Barbach ’74 (ED),
Miami, Florida, via our website


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