Spring 2017

Transgender alumnus’s story

Chris Edwards standing against an outside wall of a building reading his book

(Photo by Stephen Yang)

With “His body, his self (winter 2017), you have done both Colgate and the larger community a great service. Chris Edwards ’91 is clearly a person of extraordinary courage, clear-sightedness, and good humor — an exemplar of the classic “know thyself.” Aleta Mayne’s writing and the prominence of Chris’s book excerpt — both unflinching while dealing with a sensitive and challenging subject — make me very proud to be a part of an increasingly engaging Colgate community. Good for the Scene in offering us this portrayal. Colgate has indeed grown with the times.

Richard Schaper ’67
Mill Valley, Calif.​

I wanted to thank you for the excerpt from Balls by Chris Edwards ’91. Very interesting. However, I must take exception to Edwards’s quote in the follow-up piece, “Rebirth”: “Still, ‘there was no LGBTQ community’ back in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” Edwards recalled. Au contraire! Colgate — from 1985–89 at least, when I was there — had a very active and welcoming community. In my first semester, my head resident had a program about the symbolism of the pink triangle as a dorm event (I still have the pink triangle he gave me). It continued right up through senior week 1989, when a large group of LGBTQ folks and an even-bigger group of allies went dancing in Syracuse at the gay club. For heaven’s sake, ActUp was on campus. You had to be deliberately hiding from it not to have known that there was a large and active community on campus.

Barb West ’89
Melbourne, Australia

For a good cause, unfortunately

Denise Contreras standing in the new sexual assault response center "The Haven."

(Photo by Mark DiOrio)

Kudos for the article about Denise Contreras and the new sexual assault response center (“A new Haven,” winter 2017). While I am pleased that the center has been created, it is disappointing that there is still a need for this. The advent of co-education while I was at Colgate brought about a more civilized and cultured environment, contributing to the highly selective admission standards of today’s Colgate.

One would like to think that all of Colgate’s accomplished students would have learned during their formative years to respect others and to treat others like they wish to be treated. Hopefully, instances of assault are infrequent and becoming less so. The university has an obligation to not only counsel assault victims, but also to see that those who perpetrate such inappropriate behavior are strictly dealt with.

Peter Madison ’72 
Princeton, N.J.

A professor to remember

Headshot of Frederick Busch.

We think articles in the Scene have substance and interest. The Scene also gives a varied look at what is going on on campus today. You’re doing a good job. But we were looking through the summer 2016 edition and wanted to note an omission. There was a short notice about the return of the Living Writers course (“Living Writers, returned to life”). The course is so innovative and intellectually exciting, a course that helps set Colgate apart. I think the man who launched Living Writers should be given credit every time the course is mentioned. Fred Busch was not only an extraordinary writer, but also a gifted teacher. Don’t let your readers forget him.

Owen ’71 and Margi (White) Rogal ’71
Hancock, Vt.

Editor’s note: As it happens, in this edition’s Tableau, an alumna writes about how influential Professor Busch has been for her. See “Frederick Busch and Me” by Caitlin Mullen ’10.

Mentor, counselor, lifesaver

Steve Hartshorne portrait

I appreciated the article on Steve Hartshorne (winter 2017, pg. 72) and great picture of him as I remember him. His Depth Psychology and Religion course was profound, and I collected transcripts of his sermons. He was my mentor and counselor, and I was able to maintain contact with him and his wife, Ruth, from then on. He literally saved my life at Colgate and helped me make a transition into my career as a psychologist.

Gene Schulze ’53 
Bradenton, Fla.

Hooray for President Casey

For me, Colgate’s track record of hiring presidents looks like the ups and downs of my EKG. Quite the contrary, hooray for the “up” of Brian Casey’s incumbency so far. I met him on the front stoop of the Colgate Inn last summer at my 62nd Reunion — for about eight minutes — sitting on the front stoop while I smoked a cigar. With that delightful encounter, plus campus gossip, plus President Casey’s message in the last Scene (winter 2017), I’m positive he will successfully “focus on those four key elements of Colgate: its academic life, its students, the experience of the campus, the campus itself.” Hats off to Brian and the Scene!

Peter W. Rakov ’54 
Class president and class editor 
Hurley, N.Y.

Trainer Hill’s downside

Snow making machine on Trainer Hill.

Nice story by Meredith Dowling ’17 on Trainer Hill Ski Area (“Ski story: The ups and downs of Trainer Hill,” inter 2017). The hill had one major flaw. It faced due west into the setting sun, so the snow melted quickly because it hit at a right angle. That was why they had to add snowmaking equipment. The author might explore another winter sports artifact. In the ’50s, there was a wreck of an old ski jump at the far south end of the old golf course up on the hill.

Bob Youker ’55
Rockville, Md.

Scene pics for purchase

Visit our online galleries to order customized photographic prints in a variety of sizes. Bring home images you’ve seen in the Colgate Scene and other university publications as well as scenic views from around one of America’s most beautiful campuses.

Plants growing alongside Taylor Lake in the spring.