UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Spring/Summer 1998
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UB Today welcomes letters from readers commenting on its stories and content, or on topics of general interest to a wide range of University at Buffalo alumni.We are particularly interested in hearing about your own experiences at UB.

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The Mail

Liver transplant recipient draws praise from fellow 'liverite'

Editor:
My compliments to the editor and author of the profile on David Spiro, B.A. '85, EMS supervisor and liver transplant recipient ("The saving of a life," UB Today, Spring/Summer 1998).

I, too, am a liver transplant recipient. I became acquainted with Dave through our Web Liver Support Group. We are known as the "Liverites."

It is gratifying to know that his fellow alumni appreciate Dave's past, current and future contributions to mankind. We Liverites have depended on Dave's extensive knowledge, support, and bizarre humor and wit to see us through many rough spots and emotional times.

I applaud this exceptionally well written article. My hope is that it will get extensive exposure.

PEGGYE L. MILLS
Transplant Recipient – 1/31/98
San Antonio, Texas

Editor's note: We'd like to pass on the happy news that David has been released by Mt. Sinai Hospital to the care of his private physician and has been cleared to return to work. He feels "absolutely wonderful."

Other former Bulls players went on to jobs with the NFL

Editor:
I read with interest the letter to the editor from Keith M. Wilson, B.S. '66, in the Fall 1997 issue of UB Today.

Other former UB football players who went on to jobs in football following graduation include Kevin Brinkworth, J.D. '67 & B.A. '63, who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills upon graduation in the late 1960s, but who failed the physical because of a knee injury. John Stofa, B.S. '64, who was mentioned in the letter and profiled in your most recent issue, went on to become an NFL scout with the Cincinnati Bengals. Jim (Mouse) McNally, B.S. '66, starting guard for UB during the late 1960s, was offensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bengals and is, at present, I believe, offensive line coach for the North Carolina Panthers of the NFL.

Finally, Don Gilbert, Ed.M. '69 & Ed.B. '65, quarterbacked the UB Bulls in the late 1960s and went on to become an all-Canadian defensive back for the Ottawa Rough Riders. Following his career as a player in the Canadian Football League, he went on to coach the University of Ottawa to a number of national championships.

It is good to see UB's football team on the rise again.

JOHN H. HEDGER, M.D. '75 & B.S. '67
Salisbury, Md.

Meeting with Vietnamese refugees proves defining event

Editor:
My husband and I both enjoy keeping up with the university through UB Today. Some of my most vivid and lasting memories of UB have little to do with the classes I took. Rather, they have to do with war, upheaval, rebirth – and with the people I met as a young student.

Father Jack Chandler, Newman Center chaplain, was one of the first people I met when I arrived at UB in September 1974 as a junior with an associate's degree from Adirondack Community College in Glens Falls, N.Y., my home town.

One afternoon, very early in 1975, Jack phoned to ask if I could attend a meeting at the Newman Center, possibly to cover it for the Spectrum. (I had done a few articles for the paper on the Newman Center and its programs.) The situation in South Vietnam was worsening daily. By the end of April, Saigon would fall to the North Vietnamese and would be renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Responding to concerns of Vietnamese students, Jack had offered the Newman Center as a place for a Catholic-Buddhist prayer meeting and discussion.

Most of the 30 students who attended that evening were from the Saigon area. I learned that many had had no word from their families for nearly a year. Unable to do much of anything else, the students decided to hold a fund-raising drive. My roommate, Ann Berardi, and I joined in, passing coin boxes around campus and collecting donations at area shopping malls. In one week, we collected $4,000.

When I returned to UB for my senior year, I learned that many of the Vietnamese refugees who had settled in Buffalo were ineligible for government-sponsored training programs, and so had no way to learn English. The Vietnamese Student Association responded by establishing a volunteer program to tutor the new arrivals in English. Prospective volunteers were asked to call Stephen C. Dunnett, now vice provost for international education, who had offered to help implement a tutoring program through the Intensive English Language Institute, which he headed. I signed up as a volunteer tutor and also helped out in the office.

In questionnaires written in Vietnamese, we asked the refugees to rate their abilities in written and spoken English. The natural modesty of the Vietnamese sometimes got in the way. One young man had written "bad" in every space. We assumed he was a beginner. When he met his American tutor, she asked him if he knew how to read any English. "Yes," he replied. "I have just finished a book." What book, she wanted to know. "A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway – do you know of it?"

The refugees survived, became acclimated to their new country and learned English. Many moved south and west.

For me, it was a beginning as well. In 1976, I married Trinh Duy Phung, B.S. '76, who was one of the Vietnamese students I had met that night at the Newman Center. We have been married for 21 years and have raised three sons.

I haven't been back to Buffalo for years, but in some ways, I've never left. I treasure my years at UB for all I learned there – both in and out of the classroom – and for the friends I made. Jack Chandler is a Jesuit now, living in Culver City, Calif. And who knows where all those refugees of 1975 are today – people who got a start in the United States through the goodness of the people of Buffalo and the UB community.

HELEN A. PHUNG, B.A. '76
Attleboro, Mass.

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