Other Developments
      When I was a child, the dinner table was where my family caught up with each other. With four children and two adults, the noise level must have been intimidating. Some attention was paid to table manners and common courtesy, but we were allowed to come to the table in hair curlers, we occasionally had friends share a meal, and we could sing at the table. We laughed a lot and negotiated like the United Nations over who got the biggest slices of pie or cake.

      We learned the family folklore at dinner - how Henry Ford came to my grandparents' door, asking them to invest in his newfangled car (they didn't), how my great-grandfather, acquainted with Abraham Lincoln, stood all night at the train station when Lincoln's body came back to Illinois to be buried, how my mother's great-grandfather came to Illinois with oxen and an iron plow and broke the prairie for other settlers. We heard about my grandmother's pet badger and the stranger's room (with an entrance from the outside, but no connection to the rest of the house) in my grandparents' house. We also shared what went on in school that day, information on my sister's latest wrangle with her English teacher, my brother's latest chemistry explosion, or the new trick our dog learned. Then there were the experiments in cuisine - some mastered, some not. I learned to like parsnips, pāte, and raw oysters and to tolerate brussels sprouts, but I still don't eat avocados.

      I remember clearly what happened the day I asked my parents about Pearl Harbor, the subject of a history class. Their body language changed; they both sharpened their attention and described everything about the day they heard Franklin D. Roosevelt announce, after a Sunday family dinner at my mother's parents' home, that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Their memories were so vivid that I could picture them huddled around the radio, wondering what this would mean for brothers and for my dad. My brother and sisters were impressed by this too. We knew then that we were hearing something extraordinary, that unlike other times when we peeked into the past, this story had a reality the others didn't. Our parents were part of a frightening piece of history, and we felt their reactions and emotional responses.

      On Sept. 11, I remembered that dinnertime conversation and wondered if Mom and Dad's generation felt, as we are now experiencing, the anger, the fear, and the sense that life was suddenly tentative. I wondered if the country responded then with the same patriotic fervor that we see now, if flags flew from residences and automobiles, if "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America" became as commonplace as "Happy Birthday." I wondered if people around the country had the same instinct to reach out to each other. Friends from my high school days have called, "just to say hello," even though I hadn't talked to them in 20 years.

      It's a classic response: We look at the bad things that happen in life and then try to make something good come from them. In this instance, the good must be that we are reinvesting in our linkages to each other. Family and friends are suddenly cherished, not quite so much is taken for granted, and while we may be more cautious, we are also more caring. We will remember and perhaps pass the memories of these times to our children and grandchildren, maybe around a dinner table.


Faculty Support
These alumni and friends invested in the College of Arts and Sciences and linked their gifts to cherished friends and family who made a difference to them. These gifts make a difference to students and faculty in the College as well.

  • Charlotte, BA'63, and James A. Griffith came full circle with their decision to fund a professorship in the Department of Mathematics (Charlotte's major) and name it to honor Jim's inspirational and motivating high school mathematics teacher, William Boucher, who, among other things, made it possible for Jim to do calculus in high school. "That gave me a leg up when I was in college. I got to skip freshman math and get on to other things."
  • Valerie Joseph of Los Angeles, Calif., asked Alvin Rosenfeld, director of Jewish studies, what his funding priorities were, and chose to support Rosenfeld's first choice of graduate support for students of Yiddish language. Joseph's daughter is a student on the Bloomington campus.
  • Robert C. Haugh, BA'48, named a Dean's Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences in honor of his years as an undergraduate. Dean's Fellows are chosen from the top candidates for tenure and are guaranteed four years of additional support for research and teaching.
  • Lawrence Blatt, BS'83, took a leadership role in donating and raising funds for a graduate fellowship in virology in honor of Milton Taylor in the Department of Biology. Taylor was Blatt's undergraduate research adviser and introduced him to the joys and challenges of research. Amgen and Lilly Research Laboratories participated at the corporate level; undergraduate and graduate students of Taylor also have contributed.

    - Susan Green
  • The College Magazine - Summer 2001 : page's bottom template

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