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  Readers Write
     
   

"A Sea Change on the Hill"

I read with great interest the feature article, "A Sea Change on the Hill," in the summer 2001 issue of Holy Cross Magazine. In view of the enormous collective contribution of the 22 retiring faculty profiled in the article, references to a "sea change" and "the end of an era at Holy Cross" seem particularly fitting. At the same time though, their legacy of superb undergraduate teaching and counsel remains at the heart of the College's identity and mission.

As a freshman in 1966, I was lucky enough to participate in B. Eugene McCarthy's English Seminar, where he skillfully led us 10 students through discussions of great literature. I followed up this two-semester seminar with courses in Restoration and 18th Century Drama and Criticism from Aristotle to Johnson. Each was a delight. In the fall of 1967, I took Shakespeare Survey with Tom Lawler. With his guidance, we learned lessons of the great bard about growing up, growing old, and being human. The following year, I took Dr. Lawler's Readings in Renaissance Prose, an examination of the writings of brave and brilliant authors. I didn't take a course with Dr. Lawler my senior year, but I did attend a talk he gave on "Christian perspectives on choosing a profession." His views on the importance of the intrinsic rewards of one's work stay with me to this day.

The retirements of Professors McCarthy, Lawler, and the other distinguished faculty surely are a watershed event in the history of the College. During their tenure, the College has prospered enormously and is now, I'm sure, better than ever. Their era may have ended, but their legacy endures.

Michael Addonizio '70
East Lansing, Mich.

"The Lessons of Cuernavaca"

It was a great pleasure to see the Holy Cross Mexico Program featured in the fall issue of Holy Cross Magazine. I can personally attest to the fact that the experience of encountering the poor of Mexico stays with students throughout their lives. A week or so before I read "The Lessons of Cuernavaca," I was using my time there in 1989 as an example to students in my Freshman Seminar class at William Paterson University of how privilege can be made visible.

The white students in my class were having a difficult time recognizing the benefits their white skin gives to them. They thought that, surely, if they were privileged over other members of society they would be aware of it. I shared with them how I never had a true grasp of the advantages I had as an American until I spent time with Mexicans in and around Cuernavaca, people whose neighborhoods were like continual UNICEF commercials. Many had dirt floor shacks, not enough food, and shared one pipe of running water with hundreds of other families. Unlike television viewers, however, we Holy Cross students could not feel better at the end of our visits there by writing a check. Instead, we left with the calling to take what we had learned and unmask the privileges we, as Americans, share so that we can make the world a more just place.

Before we can start to answer God's call to build the Kingdom on Earth, we must recognize that injustice exists. The Mexico Program gives Holy Cross students a tremendous advantage over most other undergraduates. Having had a glimpse into the world as it truly is, they can begin to create the world as it should be.

Kathleen Odell Korgen '89
Newburgh, N.Y.

"ROTC"

I was very surprised to read a letter from a fellow alumnus in our summer 2001 issue questioning the role that the College plays in the future concerning its support for our political and military system manifested in the ROTC units on campus. Mr. Michael O. Duane sees the support for our military at odds with the College's fundamental values. The fact that you printed the letter and have made the magazine a forum for the exchange of ideas belies Mr. Duane's belief that the College's fundamental values are not supported.

It is critically important to have men and women from all of our country's very best institutions leading and being led in our Armed Forces. It is in the formative years at schools like Holy Cross that those leaders build the foundations of honor, courage and commitment that are critical in the task of defending freedom here in the United States and far from home in wastelands like Afghanistan.

If we lose the input of great minds and character that come from our Catholic, liberal arts institutions we lose an integral part of our national military spirit—one that guides us to do good in the defense of our country. Holy Cross should be proud to be the home of a Navy ROTC unit that can celebrate 60 years of continuity. The other liberal arts universities have lost their way—their graduates will not have the opportunity to celebrate the great spirit of service to country— freely given—that many of my Holy Cross classmates and other fellow graduates have had.

It is by ensuring that young men and women, graduating from great institutions like Holy Cross—imbued with the values so dearly cherished there—continue to flow to our Armed Forces so that those values permeate that great institution, that we ensure our future will be properly protected by men and women of moral courage and the commitment to doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

America's military has been and will continue to be a force of good. Make sure it is populated by people of good. Continue to support the ROTC presence in our finest schools and keep Holy Cross proud among them.

John B. Foley III '69
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Norfolk, Va.

 

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