Examining the connection between money and personal happiness
I disagree with Lewis Mandell's statement regarding happiness in his opinion piece about the need for financial education among high schoolers in the Winter 1999 issue of UB Today ("Final Word: Why Johnny can't balance a checkbook").
Mr. Mandell states "...we must realize that in a society where one's happiness is so closely tied to one's financial well-being" as a matter of fact. However, I have heard and read of studies that declare that the opposite is true, that one's happiness is not necessarily related to financial well-being (as long as one is not living in poverty).
Probably a more accurate statement (that most people would agree with) would be "... we must realize that in a society where one's status is so closely tied to one's financial well-being...." In fact, the pursuit of status is what drives many people to financial troubles. Perhaps high schools should teach that status and material goods are not the key to happiness (along with how to balance a checkbook).
Jeff Edwards, B.A. '78
Photographic study captures the scope and magic of New York City
Congratulations on UB Today's 1998 Award for Excellence in the category of alumni magazines/newsletters from the State University of New York Council for University Affairs and Development. My brother, who is a student at Columbia, was also impressed by the layout and the range and depth of the articles published in UB Today.
I particularly enjoyed the article on "Changing New York" in your Fall 1998 issue. It was not only a well-written article, but also had an excellent selection of photographs. Congratulations to Douglas Levere, B.A. '89, for his contributions to this project.
Mr. Levere was most fortunate in his pursuit of this project, and by publishing this story it gave hope that good things can happen to an individual, and by extension, to any of us. Also, it was wonderful seeing the photos side by side (trying to capture the same position/angle and same time of day). Because I live and work in Chinatown/Lower East Side, the Pike and Henry Street and the cover (Queensborough Bridge) photos caught my eye. New York City has always been a changing city in part because of the influx of immigrants, yet the structures (buildings/bridges) have remained constant, more or less. Seeing these photos left me in awe of the history of these structures and this city...we live out our lives in the structures and in this city, which have held, and will continue to hold, generations of different people.
Alice Fung, B.A. '95
New York, New York
Y2K inquiry leads to lost military awards for Vietnam-era veteran
Recently, I had a brush with my past that may interest fellow alumni, especially those who are veterans. I read an article in the Orange County (CA) Register in which a Vietnam veteran expressed his concern about losing his military records because of Y2K problems. He described how he had used the Internet to obtain the official form SF 180 to retrieve his retired military records ("Getting Military Records," http://members.aol.com/ForVets/htomr.htm).
I proceeded to do the same thing; within a few months, I received three commendations, or medals, that I had not known were in my records. I left Vietnam in December 1969 and was in a big hurry to get back to college and finish my B.A. degree at UB. My records never caught up to me until my Internet inquiry 30 years later.
Upon reviewing the United States Marine Corps record of my eligibility for awards, I discovered that the following honors were part of my service record: Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Gallantry Cross–Foreign (Color with Palm), Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, and Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.
When we returned from Vietnam, we had no parades. Months later, I must admit I had a stream of memories from my experiences. My eyes teared a little when I walked out of the [Norton] Student Union and smelled the noxious fumes of tear gas in the air from a student war protest on campus.
As I write this letter on Independence Day 1999, I am thankful that my country sent me these awards, even if late by 30 years. Maybe I will hang my past on the wall. It will inspire me to think of ways I can volunteer some of my time to give back to this great country.
Joseph R. Rice, B.A. '72
Lake Forest, California
Thank you for granting me permission to photocopy Lewis Mandell's essay on the need for financial education among the young ("Final Word: Why Johnny can't balance a checkbook," Winter 1999) and distribute it to my associates. I compliment you and Dr. Mandell on a great article.
Douglas E. Grassi, D.D.S. '80
Salt Lake City, Utah
Cover design wins award
The cover for our Spring/Summer 1998 issue, featuring physics professor Piyare Jain, won a bronze medal from the Art Directors/Communicators of Buffalo and the Professional Communicators of Western New York in its 1999 Western New York Awards for Creative Excellence competition. The cover, featuring photography by Frank Cesario and art direction by Rebecca Farnham, received the only medal awarded in the magazine covers category.