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Readers share their thoughts

Grotjan Gets Her Due

An American Hero” [Spring 2018] is absolutely great. Ann Whitcher is a wonderful researcher and writer, and I am so glad to see this information getting out. Of all the pioneering women codebreakers, Genevieve Grotjan is the one about whom so little is known, and At Buffalo has done an excellent job helping to fill in the historical record.

Liza Mundy
Arlington, Va.

Mundy is the author of “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II.”

I loved the article on Genevieve Grotjan’s codebreaking! That’s what I did for five years as a cryptanalyst and Chinese Mandarin linguist in the USAF Security Service, an arm of NSA. The depth of research and explanation of complex concepts are remarkable, making this piece easy to understand and a pleasure to read.

Ken Hood (MLS ’81, MA ’79)
Kenmore, N.Y.

Hood is facilities planning and management officer for the UB Libraries.

A Polarizing Figure

History is more complicated than people realize. As a UB grad who majored in history, I appreciate this more than most. The events which led to Millard Fillmore signing the Compromise of 1850 [“A Commemoration in Context,” Spring 2018] are complex. In June 1850 a convention of Southern states considered secession. The increasing factionalism created a national crisis as Millard Fillmore became president. Sens. Clay, Calhoun and Webster worked hard to reach a new compromise, which included the Fugitive Slave Act. The perception was that to avoid civil war, Fillmore had to sign the Compromise of 1850.

Louise T. Gantress (BA ’69)
Armonk, N.Y.

It’s time to recognize what Millard Fillmore really stood for. Anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic and worst of all, the signing of the Fugitive Slave Act. It’s time to consider renaming buildings, streets and hospitals. If Confederate flags hanging in the South are controversial, why is it OK to honor Fillmore?

Cynthia Silverstein (EdM ’82)
Buffalo, N.Y.

Sad About Schoellkopf

It is very sad for me to learn of the planned removal of Schoellkopf Hall, UB’s first dormitory [“A Sense of Place,” Spring 2018]. My roommate and I were among the first students to move from off-campus housing into the hall in January 1953, my last semester at UB. We couldn’t wait! On college campuses in that era of innocence, we had a self-governing system to maintain discipline, and I was elected “alderman” of Schoellkopf, which ensured that there was no discipline. I don’t remember what the rent was, but I believe it was $5 a week. I can’t believe that this shiny new modern miracle (for us) is going to disappear. Thank you, Schoellkopf Hall, and UB, for being our home.

Vincent “Jim” Cipollaro (BA ’53)
New York, N.Y.

Setting the Record Straight

In the recent article “Gone With the Windmills” [Spring 2018], the statement was made that Costa Rica “has announced plans to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world.” This statement is misleading since there already exists not only a carbon-neutral country but an actual carbon-negative one. That country is Bhutan. I heartily applaud Costa Rica’s movement in this direction but I believe it’s important to give recognition to this very special Asian nation for its environmental stewardship.

Paul Penner (PhD ’94, MA ’92 & BS ’65)
Silver Lake, N.Y.

Ed: We agree, and regret the error.

From the Editor’s Desk

“What Did They Die From?”

At Buffalo mug

That was the answer to our Spring 2018 pop quiz, in which readers had to name the offbeat honors seminar taught by the late Peter Nickerson, a beloved professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

As our winner, Melissa Whitford (BS ’01) of Pittsford, N.Y., recalls, “It was a fun and interesting class, and it still comes up in conversations to this day.” Whitford, whose name was randomly chosen from the correct submissions, will receive an At Buffalo mug.

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