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To the Editor


Ride with Pride
I was so thrilled to read your article “Horse Sense” in the Winter 2004 issue. It brought back memories of arriving at UVM with what seemed like everything but my one prized possession — my riding saddle. I told myself that I would just have to take a break from competing horses while I studied away from home at college.

After I joined the only horse-related club on campus, “The Horse Club,” I found myself still wanting more serious riding and decided to lead the effort to form an Equestrian Team. After a controversial debate and deeply divided vote at one of the Horse Club meetings, I ventured forth with only a few members from the Horse Club to found the UVM Equestrian Team. From an initial meeting that drew nine students, we grew to more than 20 members my senior year, hosted two successful UVM horse shows, and sent one of our riders to nationals.

In an academic world of unfamiliar faces, foreign subjects, and, at times, daunting work loads, I am confident that I can speak for all team members by saying that practicing, riding, and competing brought a renewed sense of excitement and joy through our sport.

After I graduated from UVM, I moved to South Florida to ride professionally for a three-year break before entering law school. I am now a practicing litigator in a busy family law firm. I find peace and solace from my stressful profession in my morning rides at 6:30 every day before work.

I am so pleased to see that the UVM Equestrian Team has continued on to new heights. The fact that the team flourished exemplifies UVMers shared qualities of strength, perseverance, and tradition. I always have said that life is a lot like riding a jumper course. There are ups and downs, several turns, some pitfalls, major obstacles, and lots of thrills. If you keep your eyes up, push your shoulders back, and stay in a positive frame of mind, you will make it to the finish and really enjoy the ride along the way. Continue to ride with pride, UVM.

Sheryl A. Moore ’94
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fiscal Facts
Congratulations to Mark Pendergrast for his timely, well-researched, revealing, and important article “Ripeness is All” in the Fall 2003 issue. I served on the UVM Faculty Senate Financial Policy Committee just prior to my retirement in 1999. During those years the committee suggested several times to the administration that articles like Mark’s needed to be written to educate the campus community, alumni, and the public about the history of our relationship with the state, the state and federal contributions to the University, the Wilbur Fund, our in-state and out-of-state student mix, and so forth. Regrettably, for various reasons there was a decision not to do so.

One hope we had for such information was that alumni would recognize that, in Mark’s words, UVM is “Hardscrabble U” and that “Dig as much as you like into UVM history, you’ll be hard-pressed to unearth a golden era of financial well-being.” Another hope was that we could boost alumni commitment to UVM and their giving from the current level of 17 percent to a much higher percentage, perhaps approaching that of many top schools where 40-50 percent of graduates give to annual fund appeals.

Just think what a difference it would make in University funding if we could achieve such a goal. Even a $25 yearly undesignated donation from thousands more of our alumni would help immensely. Surely all graduates can afford such a gift. So alumni (and emeriti faculty, too), please give if you do not. And if you do, please consider increasing your donation.

In closing, I suggest that Mark conduct an in-depth interview with Professor Emeritus Bob Stanfield, who has “a wealth of UVM history committed to memory.” It would be a wonderful follow-up piece to this one. And keep searching for other related topics that should be in the pages of the Quarterly. Education is an on-going process.

Robert Larson
Emeritus Professor of Education
Harwich Port, Massachusetts

Thumb down, thumb up
The very issue you publish my letter suggesting that UVM is leaning toward the left, your primary story is about two student volunteers for Dean. What irony! Does this reflect your bias or are the majority of students Democrats? (Bill O’Reilly noted a study that showed over 90% of college professors vote Democrat. Hmmmm.)

I was pleasantly surprised by the letter you published from Cpt. Lydia Battey, ’99 who is stationed over in Mosul, Iraq. We need more stories like this, frankly. But you left out her email address so that friends and alums can write her our thanks and support. Can you do that for all alums stationed overseas?

Now that’s a real service you can provide.

Peter Robb ’82
Holliston, Massachusetts

{At Mr. Robb’s suggestion and with Cpt. Battey’s permission, we’d like to share her e-mail address: lydia.battey @us.army.mil. She welcomes notes from fellow alums.}

Humanitarian Approach
I applaud your inclusion of Cpt. Battey’s “Message from Mosul” in your Spring issue.

I recall “Miss Battey” as a 4.0 nursing student, active in student affairs, outstanding athlete, and model student during my tenure as an assistant professor of military science from 1995 to 1998. As a teenager, she also raised seeing eye dogs. That was just one way she served her community.

Regardless of your support or opposition to the war in Iraq, you can be sure that Cpt. Battey’s talent and capabilities represent a just and humanitarian approach to the situation and hope for the future. The students, faculty, and graduates of UVM can be proud of Lydia Battey. We are privileged to consider her a fellow alum.

Jonathan Farnham ’81
Burlington, Vermont

Being Bicultural
Mr. Fogel has it wrong regarding “For Affirmative Action, The Clock is Ticking Down.” The clock is not ticking down...an alarm is ringing and has been doing so for some time! The fact remains that many American cities and towns are segregated and an area with a low socio-economic status is often reflective of a minority population. The low income status will mean less money in property taxes and less money, in turn, is provided to the public schools to obtain educational resources to enhance learning.

While teaching high school students what courses are important to take to enter college, it is also important to teach them the necessary skills to integrate effectively in a predominantly single-race school. They can take these skills with them to the workplace. It is unfortunate that UVM still does not recognize this since my days as a undergrad when Diversity University made a mess of Waterman and the school grounds. I was embarrassed for UVM and embarrassed by the students (who did not consist of multicultural students only). In order to be successful academically and in the workplace, it is necessary for these students to become BI-cultural: Be yourself and be able to Integrate in the dominant culture.

I have learned that college was truly an opportunity to learn how other cultures express themselves and think, but I also learned that I had much more to contribute as a Hispanic woman. While affirmative action attempts to provide equal access to a higher education, it is doing a terrible job in providing the life skills for these students to be truly successful altogether.

UVM does not necessarily have to do more but it should do better by providing these necessary life skills.

Rosita Rios ’93
Maplewood, New Jersey