Letters to the Editor

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Online Chatter

A comment submitted to Seattle University Magazine online from College of Nursing alumna Jessica Goglin, '72: Alumni greetings! I was a classmate of Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Class of 1972. Congratulations to him for his Alumni of the Year Award ["Alumnus of the Year," spring 2010]. Our country is so fortunate to have such a stellar general serving all of us. Recently, I listened to Pete's conversation on National Public Radio (NPR) about the overall mental and physical health of today's U.S. soldier. A very interesting conversation. I am a graduate of the College of Nursing and served my country as a U.S. Navy nurse during the Vietnam War.

Division I a Win-Win for SU

Dr. Joseph Gallucci's letter [Letters, Fall 2009] does not reflect my experience at Seattle University from 1951 until my graduation in 1955. I earned seven varsity letters in basketball and baseball on nationally ranked teams, graduated with honors in business administration, as a distinguished military cadet was offered a regular Army commission via ROTC and am an alumnus of the Harvard Business School. Listed below is a sampling of some of my friends and teammates who were also student athletes:

Ron Bissett, '56, basketball (business, CPA) Emmett Casey, basketball, attended SU in the '50s and '60s (psychology and philosophy)
Bob Clark, baseball, attended SU '51–'56 (ROTC, military pilot) Bill Collier, '55, baseball (ROTC, CPA, CFO)
Tommy Cox, '56, basketball (ROTC, business, CPA, MBA) Al Giles, '56, basketball (master's degree in psychology) Charles Guinasso, '55, baseball (ROTC, lawyer, judge) Jack Johansen, '55 and '88, basketball (ROTC, business) Frank McBarron, '55, basketball, baseball and soccer (ROTC, science degree, MD)
Ed and John O'Brien, '53, basketball and baseball (business) Joe Pehanick, '57, basketball (business, former SU regent) Larry Sanford, '57, basketball (master's degree in sociology) Wayne Sanford, '55, basketball (business)

The example in Dr. Gallucci's letter opines the predication of an entire group. Thus, he predicates a particular to draw a universal conclusion. This is a fallacy in logic as most of us learned from Father John Harrington's logic classes. The most ill-advised decision made at SU in the past 29 years was to abandon Division I athletics. High-level scholastic achievement is not incompatible with high-level athletic success. Having served 16 years on the Gonzaga University Board of Regents before retiring as Regent Emeritus in 2002, I continue to observe this ongoing relationship between academic performance and athletic achievement.

John F. Kelly, '55

ROTC Important to Many Alumni

I am writing in response to the letter that the ROTC program was unworthy of the coverage given to it. I think that it was, and further, I believe the ROTC program has been an excellent complement to the SU mission to educate and develop the character of students.

The writer seems to espouse the view that the university should not facilitate or support ROTC (i.e. no student should have the opportunity to participate in the ROTC program). He clearly has a personal bias against the program and uses the phrase "complicity of Seattle University in the Vietnam War" to imply that the university is itself responsible for actions of the U.S. government. I think this is way off base in this regard, and also in the letter's closing, that "this story, glorifying the ROTC program, should never have seen the light of day."

I disagree, and would like to compliment the magazine editor for publishing an excellent article on a program that was an important part of the education of many of us who graduated in the 1950s and '60s. I believe that an important role of a university is to provide its students the opportunity to grow and expand their horizons. For years, the Seattle University ROTC program has been a major factor in fulfilling that role and, hopefully, will continue to do so.

Dave Sigmon, '60

ROTC Part of the Fabric of the University

I share with my fellow ROTC former cadets some sense of amazement and discouragement with the sentiment of Mr. Dennis Williams, '69, as voiced in his letter to the editor in the Winter 2009–10 issue. The fullness of four decades of worldly experience since our SU days seems not to have taught that the terrible reality of war is certainly a separate matter from the rightful presentation of ROTC students and an article depicting activities and pictures of these students.

Under our country's military traditions, forces are deployed by elected representatives of the people. Mr. Williams has a right to disagree with any choices our nation's leaders may make in using our military, but to suggest that ROTC military training is "out of proportion to its place in Seattle University's mission and goals" is itself wrong. Seattle University has long supported broad public service choice, professional career choice and diversity of opinion.

Our world, as imperfect as it is, contains threats now as it has for hundreds of years. I feel that my Catholic, Jesuit university has an obligation to continue to offer ROTC for those willing to protect our way of life from tyrants and terrorists.

Though I was lucky to take only superficial wound fighting in Vietnam, several of my classmates suffered the greatest personal loss. To exclude publishing ROTC training activities is faulty on many levels and such exclusion would be the true travesty.

Bill Pfeiffer, '68 PhD
Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)
Cleburne, Texas

ROTC Should Be a Point of Pride for SU

I am writing in response to the letter from Dennis Williams protesting the article on the ROTC program at Seattle University ["Glorification of ROTC Program Wrong," Letters, Winter 2009–10]. So you know my bias, I am a product of the Seattle University ROTC program and a retired Army officer. I disagree completely with everything Dennis Williams said. Disagreement about war is as old as our country. Perhaps the only war during which there wasn't a lot of dissent was World War II. Dissent is nothing new and Mr. Williams has every right to express it.

I only had four years of Jesuit education but I regard them as one of the high points of my life. Those years taught me how to think, study, question and keep an open mind about the events of the time. Jesuits have even been described in military terms because of their dedication and intellectual honesty. That ethic is communicated to their students and it is a disservice to the university to suggest they were somehow responsible for or promoted the Vietnam War. Of course, the history of ROTC at SU goes back decades and will, I hope, continue as long as our country needs officers.

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Welcome, Alumni Relations AVP

Susan Woerdehoff has been named the new Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations. Woerdehoff, a double alum of Seattle University, comes to SU following a long career with Microsoft. She starts May 25. Read more about her in SU Voice.




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