Letters to the Editor Spring 2014

A Monumental Man

Thank you, Kimber Williams, for "The Art of War" in the Winter Oregon Quarterly. While a frosh at Oregon State College in the fall and winter of 1947–48, I was enrolled in a class called Survey of Great Arts taught by Gordon Gilkey. He often spoke of his experiences with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), in recovering art treasures in Europe. At the end of the term, he gave each of his students a print of one of his works. I shall treasure the print and the memories of his class.

Frank L. Johnson '55

I was just home from the Imax theater when I read "The Art of War" in the latest Oregon Quarterly [Winter 2013]. I was surprised, as I had just seen the preview for the film The Monuments Men, which is referred to at the end of the article.

Gordon Gilkey was an amazing artist and ambassador for the arts throughout his career. He was a student when Jack Wilkinson, later UO art department head, was a student at Oregon. Jack stayed with Gordon in New York as Jack was awaiting passage to Europe on a grant to study art. Gordon was one of the first University of Oregon graduates to receive the Ellis F. Lawrence Medal in 2000, given by the School of Architecture and Allied Arts to leaders who have made outstanding contributions to the arts.

Kenneth O'Connell
Professor Emeritus of Art

Your feature on Gordon Gilkey helped fill in some important gaps in my knowledge of this extraordinary gentleman and scholar. To add to Gilkey's remarkable legacy, we should also acknowledge his contributions to international education. As dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University, Gilkey worked with faculty members at OSU, the University of Oregon, and Portland State University to initiate three exchange programs (Stuttgart, Germany; Poitiers, France; and Tokyo, Japan) that continue to this day. His vision of student exchanges has enabled literally thousands of students and scores of faculty members from Oregon's public universities to experience and learn from other cultures.

Paul Primak '90

"Pot Party"

I was a journalism student in 1966 and recall supporting Annette Buchanan and the cause ["The Stand She Took," Autumn 2013]. Less than two years later, as editor of the Oregana magazine, we published a five-page photo essay entitled "Pot Party" along with a first-person student account of marijuana use around campus and interviews with the local district attorney and a physician at the student health center. We had no legal problems as a result, and there was no attempt at prior restraint. The Oregonian covered the story of the first-ever Oregana magazine and concluded that the contents, including a photo essay comparing the war in Vietnam with Oregon football, would be controversial but were a good reflection of the turmoil of the times.

Robert W. Denniston '68
Arlington, Virginia

Special Connections

Two articles in your Winter 2013 issue have a closer tie than may have been realized: "Curious Science," highlighting treasures that can be found in Knight Library's Special Collections, and "The War at Home," about World War II conscientious objectors confined in a work camp on the Oregon Coast. As it happens, housed among the library's Special Collections are some wonderful small publications written and printed by COs at that camp, with literary contents and colorful, handmade covers.

Bean Comrada, MS '83

Generosity by the Numbers

I read with interest the criticism by two alumni of Phil and Penny Knight's latest gift to the UO for the football performance center, the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex ["Building Inequality?" Letters, Winter 2013]. The mistaken implication of these letters is that the Knights have not given any gifts that benefited UO academics or the student body in general.

An overview of some of the other generous gifts made by the Knights to the UO is instructive. The Knights' significant donations to the UO began almost 20 years ago, when a multimillion-dollar gift was made in 1994 for the renovation of the library. In 1999, the William W. Knight Law Center was built based on a gift of $10 million in honor of Phil Knight's father. The Knights' contributions to endow 27 chairs and professorships at the UO have totaled $15 million. Certainly, like the over $100 million donation by the Knights to Stanford University, one cannot reasonably argue that these significant gifts to the UO were not academically oriented.

Other major gifts oriented toward athletics include a $30 million gift to expand Autzen Stadium in 2002 and the $100 million Legacy Fund donation to cover the bond costs for the Matthew Knight Arena, as well as the recent gift of $41.7 million for an athletes' academic center, the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes.

The Knights also have directed significant gifts of late toward Oregon Health and Science University, including, most recently, a $500 million matching challenge grant to raise $1 billion for cancer research.

This is one alumnus who stands deeply appreciative of the Knights' enormous contributions to the UO.

Michael G. Hanlon '75

A Six-Word Story

"Exploring Race; Exploring Identity" [Winter 2013] touched my heart, as I am the proud father of mixed-race sons. I would like to submit this six-word story on their behalf: My sons are whole, not "half."

Thanks again for a terrific magazine!

Joe Hlebica '77
Red Bluff, California

Out of Conflict, Change

I read with interest the "Decades" notes in the Winter issue. The allegations recited in the quote [". . . a campus group is demanding the recall of ASUO president Greg Leo, saying that 'Leo has made it perfectly clear that he intends to govern as a corrupt monarch oblivious to the wishes of the students'"] were from my opponents in my recall campaign, which I won and subsequently served out my full term as ASUO president. The ASUO Senate was dissolved in the spring elections of 1973 when I was elected, and I had the responsibility of incidental fee allocation as the ASUO executive. During our year, our ASUO team designed the incidental fee process, which is largely in place today. Out of conflict, change. Out of the chaotic campus politics of the early 1970s, a better, student-centered incidental fee process. Then and now, ASUO provides students with an excellent "learning by experience" and prepares leaders for public service beyond the UO.

Thanks for your fine efforts in reconnecting alumni with "Old Oregon."

Greg Leo '74

Blivet or Not

As a fellow member of the Class of 1963, I have enjoyed following the life and exploits of Alaby Blivet '63 and his wife, Sara Lee Cake '45, all these years. I appreciate Alaby sharing his life with us for so long, although I vaguely remember a period of time where he went dark for several years. I think he was in rehab or something. Hopefully he will continue to let Oregon Quarterly know the high- and lowlights of his life. I suspect he might end up being the longest living member of our class, although Sara Lee most likely will not be with him, since she is already in her mid-80s.

Lael Prock '63, MBA '65
Mercer Island, Washington

Your Class Notes item "submitted" by the fictitious Alaby Blivet [Winter 2013] was shameful and in extremely poor taste. To make light of a presidential assassination is disgraceful. I was appalled at your poor judgment.

Mick Scott '64

I much appreciate your essay on civil discourse. We live amidst amazing cleavage these days, where facts are not always respected on the other side. But we need to know how others think, as we usually read only our side. It may take more effort and paper to do what you do in the Autumn issue, but keep doing it!

Jessie Attri '45, MA '56 
Seattle, Washington