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UVM Notebook

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Alumni news &







to the Editor

I wanted to thank you for the great story on the CREAM program. I enjoyed it so much that I shared it with my 11th grade U.S. History students. I’m always looking for anything to help my students see college as something more than classes, parties, and Greek life. Thanks for a job well done.

Nathan McCann ’95 G’03
San Antonio, Texas

While I was happy that you gave publicity to the Lane Series (“50 Candles for the Lane,” Fall 2004), I was disappointed at your account of its early history. When Nellie Lane gave the $300,000 endowment in 1954, the name was changed from the Program Series to the Lane Series. Your article states that the Lane Series “burst onto the scene” as though it was new and different from the Program Series; it was in fact the same series, with a new name and bigger budget.

Especially disappointing is that no credit was given to the founder of the series, Jerome Agel ’52. Jerry presented his brainchild to the Student Government in 1951 and they agreed to underwrite the series with a grant of $400 to get it off the ground. Jerry was the director for the first season, fall ’51 to spring ’52. He asked the late Sam Bogorad, English professor, to be his advisor and Barbara (Bobby) Demarest, Class of 1953, to be his assistant.

Your article mentions that in the first year with the endowment “getting artists to Vermont wasn’t easy;” you can imagine how tough it was before the endowment. Jerry and Bobby scrambled to sell subscriptions that first season trying to fill the venue, the Ira Allen Chapel. They were able to attract such names as Dylan Thomas, Pearl Primus and her African Dance Troupe, John Jay (professional skier), and Hans Kohn (European historian) among others. The following year, Bobby Demarest became the director and performers/speakers included Charles Laughton, W.H. Auden, Norman Thomas, and Mel Allen to name a few. Bobby asked Jack Trevithick, another English professor, to be her advisor for the ’52–’53 season. As your article points out, Trevithick was involved in the Lane Series for many years.

Jerry Agel is currently living in New York City with his wife, Nina. He has authored more than 40 major books, including collaborations with Carl Sagan, Stanley Kubrick, and Isaac Asimov. One of his children, Jesse, graduated from UVM in 1984 and is now the associate head coach of the men’s basketball team. Bobby Demarest Robinson is a historian and educator, and the founder of the Massachusetts Studies Project at UMass Boston. She currently resides in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Phil Robinson ’82,
son of Bobby (Demarest) Robinson ’53
Glendale, California

Thanks for the article “Good thought, good action” by Dean Taylor in the Fall 2004 issue. This article gives historical background to UVM’s continuing commitment to face “the problems of people” with a response from the whole man, not simply with ideas.

Dean Taylor writes of the contradictions of the men who are, arguably, UVM’s greatest educational philosophers. It was satisfying to understand how James Marsh’s and John Dewey’s “pragmatic commitment” was larger than their “intellectual gulf.”

Another Marsh admirer was William G.T. Shedd, who graduated from UVM in 1839. Alan Gomes of Biola University has written how Marsh imbued Shedd “with a love of philosophy and literature” and “conveyed this enthusiasm to his pupil.” Shedd taught English literature at UVM from 1845–1852, producing an edition of Coleridge’s complete works and Lectures Upon the Philosophy of History. Monica Grecu has written how one of Shedd’s theological works ranks “second only to the work of Jonathan Edwards.” I would love to see an article about this great UVM alumnus.

Philip A. Urie ’74
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania