Long may she live

Amanda Brown '15

Amanda Brown ’15

Colgate’s character is beautifully reflected in the [summer issue of the] Scene, which reprinted Amanda Brown’s speech from the senior class brunch this year (“So Colgate”). She says to her classmates, in part: “I think about the campuswide acknowledgment that there is no Colgate experience, only Colgate experiences; no Colgate identity, only Colgate identities; no Colgate story, only many, many different Colgate stories. And that pluralism is not something to be taken for granted. Our community is about more than being unique or having multiple layers; it’s about challenging ourselves and our peers to see that in others, and to then act on it … it’s something all-encompassing and ever-changing… In that recognition, we discover what makes all of this truly Colgate.”

Bravo, Amanda! It is this sense of uniqueness, or the striving toward it, that makes Colgate a very special incubator. Institutions [need] to be constantly infused with new vigor, strength, and ideas, while mindful of their organizing principles. Those are the characteristics that make an institution great. And Colgate has done just that. Long may she live!

Jack J. Schramm ’53
Alexandria, Va.

A sometimes snowy stroll

Seven Oaks
Really enjoyed the article on Seven Oaks (“A stroll through Seven Oaks,” summer 2015). I think it would be more precise to say that the original nine holes were located above Andrews and Eaton halls rather than West and East halls.

I roomed in Andrews as a freshman in 1955–56 and remember awakening one morning in early May and seeing about 5 inches of snow on the course. Most of it melted by noon, but it was another indication that spring golf in Hamilton is never a certainty.

Brad Tufts ’59
Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Correction: In “A stroll through Seven Oaks,” we mistakenly identified William Burke’s class year as 1954, but he was in fact in the Class of ’44.

Short and sweet

I just read the article about the retiring professors from Colgate. Great article! This should be a feature every year!


Heidi Cuthbertson ’95
Riverside, Calif.

Addressing Africa

I enjoyed reading the article about the students in the Strategy and Security class (“Real-world problem, real jury,” summer 2015). Somaliland has an interesting, complex, and, at times, tragic set of issues to address, and I was impressed to see Colgate students taking them on (while the larger international community has yet to make any significant moves here).

It makes me proud as an alumnus to see these kinds of challenging but fruitful opportunities being offered to students. When I was a student at Colgate, I was privileged to take part in the inaugural African Studies Extended Study trip to Zambia under Professor Sindima, debate other schools at the Model African Union with Professor Moran, and study with Professor Etefa. It was also gratifying to hear of President Herbst’s [appointment in 2010], with his extremely impressive background in African politics.

With all this being said, I wanted to simply commend the students and professors in this article, as well as those during my time, who continue to develop Colgate’s Africa program. It has definitely been a game changer for me and many of my peers, and I’m glad to see that its value is being showcased more.

Henoch Fente Derbew ’07
Syracuse, N.Y.


Attention, all the wonderful folks who put the [summer] Scene together. I think this way of presenting the Scene is the best yet. An excellent job and please keep it up. Regards from an “older and sometimes crotchety” member of the fabulous Class of 1950.

Russ Fowler ’50
Salem, Ore.

Remembering R.V.

RV Smith

In Tribute: Robert Virgil Smith 1921-2015. Click photo for full story.

The late Bob [“R.V.”] Smith was a wonderful friend, mentor, and (for one year) a colleague. He and his wives, Rosalind (Posy) and Joyce, extended their hospitality to me on countless occasions, even put us up overnight several times over a 25-year span.

Bob conducted the worship service at the Colgate University church according to classic Reformed principles, and his sermons were  most  thoughtful. During parents’ weekend in 1958, my mother commented after the service that Bob could hold a pulpit in one of the leading Manhattan parishes. Bob had a strong social conscience and made us aware of the predicament of those less fortunate. He also expressed great concern over the predicament of African Americans and gave strong support to those students who sought to end restrictions concerning race and religion in national fraternity charters. He will be sorely missed.

Justus Doenecke ’60
Bradenton, Fla.

Honoring two beloved Raiders

For the last five years, I have begun my reading of the new Scene by skipping to the report of the Class of 1939. Jim Dickinson ’39 wrote with great passion and wonderful elegance. His reports were brief — not many members left. In his most recent report, he acknowledged his remaining classmate Max Mason, noting that they were both 97. He pointed out that Max could be president of the class, because he was the oldest.

Jim and I had a great exchange of e-mails when I was editor for my class. We were trying to get the correct year for a swimming trip to Puerto Rico. He thought it was 1957. I am still not sure. He wrote a wonderful brief memoir of that event — mailed it to me by snail mail. It talked about the early days of his and Mark Randall’s families on Preston Hill. They were neighbors — with Mark and his first wife and two boys. Jim got to “coach” the swim team on the Puerto Rico trip, as Mark’s wife was very ill. Jim’s report was published in either the Scene, or the local newspaper. So thanks for good memories of Colgate and Hamilton in the early ’50s.

I read with great sadness of the passing of Bob [“R.V.”] Smith. Arlene and I met him at our 55th Reunion — at the farmers’ market on Saturday morning. I was thrilled to see him in his wheelchair; told him he had married us. He replied that I was mistaken: I had married Arlene; he was just an observer. In 1963, Arlene and I were looking for a neutral place to get married. (Don’t ask! They say those marriages do not work — we just made it to 52 years.) We decided on Colgate’s Chapel House and R.V. Smith. It was held on June 26, 1963. Ford Saunders played the piano, as he had done for my parents’ wedding in 1930. My strongest memory of the event was the profound kindness of Bob Smith. He treated Arlene and me, along with a wild crew of relatives, with great authority and care. Bob Smith had a wonderful rich life. I was glad that we had a brief opportunity to share his wisdom.

Rest in Peace!

Everett Smethurst ’57
Laguna Niguel, Calif.

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