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A publication of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association

Fall 2008

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Letters

Eyewitness to ’68 groundbreaking reflects on today’s campus plans

UB Today welcomes letters from readers commenting on its stories and content. Please include picture of mailbox your UB degree and the year it was received, along with a daytime telephone for verification purposes. Letters are subject to editing and may be condensed for length. Send mail to ub-alumni@buffalo.edu

As I flipped through the spring/summer 2008 issue of UB Today, I stopped at the “Imagine If ” story about the planning for UB’s campus. I was struck by the photograph of Nelson Rockefeller and others at the groundbreaking ceremony in 1968, because I was present at the event. My late husband, Mac Hammond, had been named “master” of one of the proposed colleges (a plan that never materialized as it was intended), so we were invited.

I will never forget the actual “breaking” of the ground—as Martin Meyerson and other dignitaries dug their spades into the Amherst campus’ sod, the holes very quickly filled up with water. It was a rainy day to be sure, but tents had been erected to protect the participants. There had been much controversy about the wisdom of building a huge campus in the windswept reaches of Amherst. So when we saw those trenches fill with water, some of us sighed deeply and imagined it might be an omen.

Forty years later, the campus is still an environmentally forbidding, as opposed to friendly, place. It is physically isolated, and unfriendly to pedestrians. I’d like to think that it could have been otherwise, that the excellence of programs and teachers could have found a more congenial physical home.

I hope that these current plans can go a long way toward humanizing that campus and enhance the experience of, as the author says, “what goes on inside the classroom.” The best news is that Bob Shibley is involved in this project. If anyone can help turn things around, he can.

Katka Hammond,
MArch ’76
Buffalo, NY

Former student recalls Takeuchi’s example

Thanks for your article on Esther Takeuchi in the spring/summer 2008 issue of UB Today (“Power Source”). I had the pleasure of meeting “Dr. E” in 1992, when I spent the summer of my sophomore year working in the chemistry research lab of her husband, Kenneth Takeuchi, now SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor.

She made a lasting impression on me, as I had not yet encountered more than a handful of women in the “hard” sciences. She was unassuming and genuine, and showed me that a woman could be ambitious and achieve great things without having to shed her femininity. Kudos to UB for bringing her on board, and best wishes to Dr. Takeuchi as she continues to inspire the women (and men) she teaches.

Amy Frament Johnson,
BS ’94
Portland, ME

Corrections

The student pictured in our spring/summer ’08 First Look photo feature was part of a group maintaining that Tibet should remain part of China. Other students at the rally (though not in the photograph) were demonstrating for an independent Tibet. The last name of Terry Schuta, principal of Buffalo Public School 93, was misspelled in “Bigs & Littles,” our feature story on UB mentoring programs in the spring/ summer issue. A photo cutline identifying Aditi Bhardwaj, BA ’07, in our spring/summer ’08 issue misstated her gender. UB Today regrets the errors.

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