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Tercentennial Query

Thanks for your Y3C coverage (“Countdown to 300,” Oct.), especially the illuminating sidebar, “When is the Tercentennial?”

But why is it the Tercentennial, rather than (as that other place observed in 1936) the Tercentenary, or even the Tricentennial? Was the classics faculty consulted?

On another note, I regret your minimizing Elihu Yale’s eponymous 1718 gift as “just over £500.” University Secretary Reuben Holden’s 1967 Yale: A Pictorial History lists the benefaction as nine bales of goods worth £562/12s, together with 417 books. Holden’s 1968 Yale University Presidents says the gift “remained the largest private donation made to the College for over a hundred years.” Adjusting for inflation, £562/12s in today’s currency is $93,250.

417 books: priceless.

According to the Tercentennial Office, a committee appointed in 1996 chose “Tercentennial,” as opposed to the synonymous “tricentennial,” as the preferred usage. “Tercentennial” is commonly used to describe the year leading up to the 300th anniversary, while “tercentenary” refers to the day on which the 300th anniversary is celebrated.—Ed.


Family Affair

I was so pleased to see in “Countdown to 300” (Oct.) a picture of my two children representing 1969! They had the distinction of being the first brother and sister to graduate from Yale—together—in 1971. My son had an extra year abroad, so my daughter caught up with him. She had entered in her junior year in the first class of women.

My son, Dr. E. MacArthur Noyes, is now an emergency medical doctor in Seattle, Washington, and my daughter, Nancy N. Foss, is an administrator in the Marblehead, Massachusetts, school system. Their picture is also appropriate as they are direct descendants of James Noyes (the “Noyes” on Woodbridge Hall), a founder of Yale.

Their great-grandfather was Class of 1879. Their grandfather, Edward S. Noyes '13, was a professor of English at Yale for 40 years. Their father, Edward M. “Ted” Noyes II '40, served as director of career services at Yale until 1983. Ted accepted the Yale Medal posthumously for his father in 1968—and received the Yale Medal himself in 1996! Ted died in January 1999.

Needless to say, I was overjoyed to see the picture of my children—regardless of their 1969 clothing!


October Coup

The October 1999 issue is one of the best in the magazine’s recent history. From layout to articles, all superb.


A Mom’s Wrath

How rude and insensitive for Mark Alden Branch to quote Robert Stern as saying, “We can’t have an environment where everyone is a winner, or we might as well have Mom teach the studio” (“Blast from the Past,” Mar.).

As a graduate of Yale’s School of Architecture, a mother of four children, and a practicing professional (I have been working on major hospital projects for the last 20 years), I could probably teach the studio. So let me know when you’re ready and I’ll come.

Perhaps we need more moms and fewer pompous fools at the top!


Mixed Reviews

On the one hand, I am happy to congratulate the Yale Alumni Magazine for having received the Grand Gold award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

On the other hand, I am somewhat dismayed by a new editorial attitude manifest in your “In Print” department. As usual, you review a few books, but as for the other authors, you relegate them and their contributions to the swamp of the Web. I think this is a mistake and a disservice. The printed word should be honored by the printed word.

I do not mean to suggest that you should not put important news, like the publication of a book, on the Web. There are plenty of alumni and (more important) non-alumni who might not see it otherwise. But please be advised that many of us older folks do not use the Web for pleasure reading, but use it solely to obtain information which we cannot conveniently get by any other means. It’s a utility, no more. Alumni news hardly belongs to such a category. The primary source for that is your excellent magazine.

While we have in the past attempted to list all books written by alumni and faculty authors in our “In Print” section, the growing volume of publication notices we receive has made that impractical. By putting the “More Books by Yale Authors” section on our Web site, we hope to ensure that every author is given some recognition, while making room for more reviews in the magazine.—Ed.


Mail Fraud?

The October “Campus Clips” stated that the officers of Light and Truth had placed a “1999 Survival Guide” in freshman mailboxes. It was further stated that “a number of counselors removed some 750 copies of the magazine from freshman campus mailboxes.”

Was any disciplinary action taken against these so-called “counselors” for taking property and denying First Amendment rights? I assume these mailboxes do not belong to the U.S. Postal Service, as this would also be a great offense.

I note in “Campus Clips” that counselors removed 750 copies of a Light and Truth publication from freshman mailboxes.

What was missing was the punishment meted out to those freshman counselors. Their action, which set a very poor example for the incoming freshmen, certainly called for severe punishment. Is it now all right for them or others to do the same thing when publications have positions with which they do not agree? What ever happened to civil discourse at Yale? What happened to the ability to disagree agreeably?

If the counselors were held up by some as heroes and not relieved of their positions and made to make restitution to the magazine, then Yale has some severe problems. I must admit that I agree with the magazine’s position that the teaching of safe sex encourages sexual promiscuity. But I would not attempt to shut up those who disagree with me.

The mailboxes do not belong to the U.S. Postal Service. They are used for official University communications directed toward the freshmen. No one has been disciplined as a result of the incident.—Ed.


Sight Specific

I’m writing to touch on a few thoughts concerning funding for Yale admissions. Currently Yale College does not send its standard, four-color viewbook to internationally-based applicants (“A More Global Yale?” Feb.). Instead, a cheaper, smaller, black-and-white, print version is sent with the application. This pales in comparison to all our peer schools and just about every other school in the top 50 that all send their colorful viewbooks and usually supplemental information as well, realizing students abroad often do not have access to the Web and/or U.S. information. Yale’s method is disadvantageous in two ways:

People decide not to apply since, out of the big four schools (Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford), they know the least about this place. Last year we had over 700 fewer international applications than Harvard. Furthermore, we come off as rather arrogant or cheap since our package is so lacking.

Further, if international students decide to apply and then get in, they may choose other schools instead of Yale for the sole reason that we do not inform them or show them how amazing Yale indeed is. A friend of mine from Tunisia chose Columbia instead of Yale for this reason. After visiting Yale, she is regretting her choice. One can even argue that by sending two different mailings to different groups of applicants (discriminating between groups), Yale is being unfair in its admissions procedures; clearly one group is better informed (and enticed) than the other. The admissions office says we do not have the money for this, but when all the other top schools do it, I cannot fathom why we can’t. And if we truly cannot do it, then we should solicit funding. We must not lose out by not marketing ourselves in the face of such competition.

We should use the same effort and vigor with which we recruit minorities within the U.S. to pursue students outside the U.S.


Christian Responsibility?

I am writing in response to the remarks of Teresa Kathryn Mithen '98 in the May issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine (“Letters”). The fact that she proclaims herself an “active liberal Protestant Christian” goes a long way towards explaining how she could write such a letter.

To understand from whence she is coming, we must focus upon the word “liberal.” In my experience the hallmark of the liberal Christian is the inability or unwillingness to accept the Bible as the verbally inspired and therefore inerrant word of God. Once you start questioning the veracity of the Bible as the very word of God, you have opened Pandora’s box in terms of your ability to understand who Christ is and for what He stands. We have extra-Biblical proof of the existence of Christ, but as to who He is and for what He stands, we have only what the Bible says about Him.

No one who claims the name of Christ and who genuinely understands what that entails from having read the Bible and accepting as true all that it has to say about Him would ever be thankful over the demise of any Christian institution as such, be it Yale itself or just Dwight Hall. If Mr. McGown bemoans the fact that Dwight Hall “no longer seeks to make a clear Christian witness” (“Letters,” Mar.), then he speaks with the authority of someone who understands the Christ of the Bible.

I would bemoan the fact that not only has Christianity lost Dwight Hall, but more importantly it has lost Yale.

Mithen has been captured by the zeitgeist that says that Christians must refrain from witnessing to non-Christians for fear of offending them or because, after all, all religions are leading their followers towards the same ultimate deity. As a former Christian medical missionary who served five and a half years full-time in Nigeria, Kenya, and India, and who has done short-term medical work in ten other Third World countries, I say emphatically that that kind of limp-wristed Christianity has never and will never have a truly positive effect upon the misery and chaos in which this world finds itself.

The true Christian never crams Christianity down the throat of anyone, but at the same time the true Christian has an inescapable obligation to at the very least share his or her knowledge of Christ with non-Christians.


Aged Race

In “Countdown to 300” (Oct.) the photograph for the year 1885 has a caption that refers to its being taken “Nineteen years after the first intercollegiate sporting event—the Harvard-Yale boat race.” In fact, the first Yale-Harvard Race was in 1852, which would have been 33 years prior to the 1885 date. The first athletic team at Yale began in 1843 with the purchase by undergraduates of the first boat in what was to become the fleet of the Yale Navy.



In response to our October “Who’s Blue” column listing college and university presidents who are Yale alumni, our correspondents have brought our attention to a number of individuals whose names were omitted:

Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. '60LLB, Beloit College; Thomas George '70PhD, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Roger H. Hull '67LLB, Union College (New York); Jane L. Jervis '78PhD, The Evergreen State College; David C. Joyce '78MDiv, Union College (Kentucky); Wesley H. Poling '71MDiv, Kentucky Wesleyan College; L. Baird Tipson '72PhD, Wittenberg University; John S. Toll '45, Washington College (Maryland); Stephen Joel Trachtenberg '62JD, George Washington University; Richard Warch '68PhD, Lawrence College; Michael Wartell '71PhD, Chancellor, Indiana-Purdue University.  the end


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