Traumatic Option
What a flood of memories were brought back by the Autumn 2001 USC Trojan Family Magazine (“Hooked on Classics,” p. 30). As a survivor of “Traumatic
Option,” I well remember the camaraderie of the students, the classes with professors Dewald and Manning, and the horror of getting my first B since junior high school. While I don’t have much occasion to quote Homer in my current position, the skills I developed in T.O. have served me well. After all those integrative classes on science, philosophy, and literature, my current job is a piece of cake. It only requires building bridges between the worlds of public policy, healthcare and science to develop federal policies that are based on cutting-edge research. A simple task after four years in T.O! Hats off to Thematic Option, and good luck to all the students just beginning their trauma.

Daniel Dodgen ’86
Washington, DC


I felt somewhat better about the appalling grade I received on my first paper for a Thematic Option course after reading the article “Hooked on Classics.” Like many of my unsuspecting comrades enrolled in the program (which was new at the time, since I happen to be older than dirt), I had enjoyed a slew of A’s in high school only to be thrashed resoundingly with a big D on that first paper. I was so shell-shocked. I even recall the professor’s comments written in a dark scrawl across the top: “Your language and syntax is unlike any in this universe.” It was a rude awakening, but complacent and self-assured was I no more! I’m glad to see that the program thrives.

Robin L. Oto ’80
Highland, CA


This USC grad and Boalt Hall lawyer was utterly astonished by your article “Hooked on Classics.” You’ve demonstrated magnificently that USC has a great deal to offer those students who want an academic marathon for what is between their ears. I applaud USC for its commitment to making its students lifelong intellectual moguls, as that is the richest gift a university can ever give its students. I now want to join the alumni association – as long as they don’t feature football weekends as alumni entertainment.

Joan Lavine ’66
Malibu, CA


Your piece on Thematic Option brought back some wonderful memories. As one of your featured participants mentions, I most treasure the friendships I made. These are women I still depend on, like Ann Chervenak ’87 and Erin Schuman ’85.
I will always remember my first Thematic Option experience. On Sept. 2, 1981, a few days before the academic year began, my section of T.O. was assigned an evening to watch the movie The Prime of Miss Jean Brody, which was preceded by a time to socialize and eat pizza. There I met my future husband, Bret Fausett ’85. Bret and I are expecting our third child this December. I can truly attest that Thematic Option was a life-altering experience for me. Thank you for a lovely piece, which arrived in time for our 20th anniversary as a couple.

Hilary Kaplan Fausett ’85
Glendale, CA

I enjoyed your piece celebrating the 25 years of Thematic Option. In 1977, during the spring of my senior year of high school, I had elected to attend another Los Angeles university and had even picked out housing there for the ensuing fall term. I happened to mention to Ed Bassett, who was then dean of the USC School of Journalism, that I had been invited to elect T.O. at USC. He immediately sat me down and persuaded me I would be making a grave mistake if I did not take advantage of this one-chance-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I revoked my commitment to the other school, and thereafter survived a very challenging freshman year. I have never regretted it.
I was sad to hear that Dr. Bassett passed away earlier this year. As this reminiscence makes clear, he gave me and many others guidance that resonated over a lifetime. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and the Trojan Family was greater for his presence. I shall miss him.

Timothy B. Taylor ’81
San Diego, CA


Remembering John McKay

How true that “he was never at a loss for words” (Autumn 2001, “In Memoriam: John McKay,” p. 26). I’ll always remember one year at the pre-game Rose Bowl luncheon in Pasadena, California, when Coach McKay was being interviewed: “We hear that you are planning to do a lot of passing in tomorrow’s game. We also hear that we are going to have some strong winds tomorrow. How do you plan to handle this?” There was a long, silent pause and then McKay spoke up: “We’ll pass them low.”

Russell F. Compton
Palm Desert, CA

Morris Schulatsky writes of the 1948 Oregon game extolling John McKay’s play at halfback (Autumn 2001, “Mailbag,” p. 7). I concur that John was a sterling player but my recollection of the 1948 game was that of Oregon, with Norm Van Brocklin, winning the game by a score of 8-7. John Ferraro had already graduated, but Jim Powers played a great game. Tom Hamilton missed a long field goal on the last play of the game that would have won it for the Trojans. This, of course, is not to detract from McKay’s career at Oregon, where I believe he still holds the school record for average yards per carry of 6.1.

Doug Hays ’51
Glendale, CA

Jim Perry, assistant athletic director, replies: “Reader Doug Hays has a good memory. Oregon did indeed win the 1948 game, which was played in Portland, 8-7. McKay, who had injured his knee the week before, did not play, but Van Brocklin threw a 45-yard touchdown pass for the Ducks, who had a 9-2 record that season. As Hays also recalls, Hamilton missed a long field goal on the last play, which could have won it for USC; and Ferraro had already graduated (his last season was 1947). Reader Morris Schulatsky, whose letter appeared in the Autumn 2001 issue, was recalling the 1949 game, which the Trojans won in Los Angeles, 40-13, as Powers fired three touchdown passes. McKay carried 10 times for 46 yards in that game. Finally, McKay does indeed still hold Oregon’s career record for rushing average at 6.1 yards per carry.”

This is a reply to the wonderful tribute to John H. McKay (p. 27) in the Autumn 2001 magazine. Author Jim Perry made a reference to outstanding running backs who played for Coach McKay, “ five outstanding tailbacks – in order, Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Clarence Davis, Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell.” I believe Mr. Perry left out the very first outstanding tailback (or running back) that McKay coached at USC. His name was Willie Brown, and he could do everything. I was a senior at USC during the 1962 championship year, and watched Willie Brown run, catch passes and return punts against every team that year, and he was the first great McKay running back. There probably would not have been a championship that year without Willie Brown’s running. I think he should be added to any list that refers to outstanding tailbacks or running backs coached under John H. McKay.

Lou Steinmetz ’63
Huntington Beach, CA


Picnic Thief

A listing for Laura Shamas’ stage adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock in your “On Stage” section (Autumn 2001, p. 11) refers to author Joan Lindsay as having adapted her 1967 novel for “the critically acclaimed Peter Weir” film. In fact, Australian screenwriter Cliff Green adapted the novel into a screenplay, which was subsequently rewritten into a shooting script by me, in my capacity as script consultant for the South Australian Film Corporation, which produced the film version of Picnic At Hanging Rock. I look forward to seeing Laura Shamas’ stage adaptation.

S.L. Stebel ’49
USC Professional Writing Program
campus


Alumni by Any Name

Because I work as a volunteer in the USC Archaeology Laboratory, I am one of the lucky recipients of USC Trojan Family Magazine. I would like to call your attention to the back cover of your Autumn 2001 issue that contains an obvious error. My last Latin class was in spring 1939 in Cracow, Poland. But I still remember enough to point out that Dr. Stephen, being a female, would be an “alumna,” and the plural of “alumna” is “alumnae”– not “alumni.” Is there a solution?

Sheryl L. Thomas ’85
Victorville, CA

Though Christy Flores Stephen ’92 is never specifically called alumna, alumnus, alumni or alumnae in the USC Alumni Association ad to which Mr. Lauterbach refers, his point is well taken. The association’s name seems gender-specific, but it’s not. Due to the ancient rules of Latin grammar making the masculine plural the collective form for groups comprising both men and women, USC – and indeed any educational institution with the exception of all-girl schools and women’s colleges – is stuck with the term “alumni association.”


Trojan Memories

I found the article “Black Alumni Celebrate 25 Years” (Autumn 2001, p. 61) of interest as I did not know USC had a Black Alumni Association. It’s a shame USC can’t have an all-inclusive Alumni Association for graduates.

Lynne Mather Burns ’59
Seattle, WA

It goes without saying that today’s USC Alumni Association – of which the Black Alumni Association is an integral part – is all-inclusive, representing graduates of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds. As to the rationale for forming a separate Black Alumni Association 25 years ago, it is perhaps best articulated in the letter below.

As much as I generally enjoy reading your magazine, I find that reading the letters of warm, fuzzy “Trojan Memories” leaves me with a bit of pique. When I entered USC’s graduate school in 1958, like many other black students of that time I was immediately put on notice that my time there would not be nurturing.
I was working at the Los Angeles Public Library as a librarian trainee, and the job required me to attend library school to get a master’s degree. The only one in the area at that time was at USC. During my admittance interview, the dean of the library school advised me that having graduated from a “colored” college, I should not expect to do well at USC; that just because I was a cum laude graduate from Howard University, that did not mean I could meet the high standards of USC. After all, “colored” schools gave inferior educations and I could not hope to compete with students from California schools. She informed me that I would be dismissed if I failed the first semester. Meanwhile, my admission was provisional as part of the public library’s training program.
I have since learned from other black USC alumni of my generation that my experience was not unique. So perhaps this letter will give a little balance to your trips down memory lane. Oh yes, I graduated from USC’s School of Library Science with honors.

Barbara H.Clark MS ’61
Los Angeles, CA


It is refreshing to witness liberal arts “Thematic Option” students receiving such glamorous recognition in your glossy magazine. It was not always thus in the dark ages. I came to USC in the spring of 1946 with a B-es-L from the University of Paris, a BA from NYU and MA from UCLA, fresh from D-Day, a battlefield commission and five European campaigns. I admit I was in a hurry and not too thrilled to have Dr. Mildred Struble of the comparative literature program tell me July 1948 would be the earliest I could expect a PhD. I did not let any grass grow on my tracks and no doubt flitted by too fast to be noticed. By January 1947, with three more graduate courses to take for the minimum required, I passed my prelims to Struble’s breathless concern. In May I handed in my dissertation, and over Struble’s strenuous objections, but with graduate school dean Emory S. Bogardus’ blessing (“Did he fulfill the requirements?”) took my final oral. I may be the only student in USC history who had to take three final course exams after the final oral. The library still owes me a graduate student carrel, because I was not there long enough to qualify for one. I would like to remember fondly a few great profs like Lionel Stevenson and Frank Baxter (he put Shakespeare on TV) in English and Rene Belle in French. The latter asked me to provide his questions for the final oral to make him “look good.” I did get rewarded with Phi Beta Kappa, which I could not earn as an undergraduate on technical grounds. Now you know the rest of the story.

Max Oppenheimer Jr., PhD ’47
WSun City, AZ


Great letter from Ronald Berg ’57, MBA ’59 in the Autumn 2001 issue (“Mailbag,” p. 7). I would love to know more about how his mother started her ’SC education in the 1920s and finished her degree in 1957. What a wonderful tribute to her and her perseverance and USC being there for her to attain her goals over that timeframe.
I started my educational program at USC in 1978-80 and would absolutely love to finish my degree (EdD) today. I am proud to say that my son will graduate from ’SC next spring. I’d like to know if there are other people who have been able to complete their degree over what might be considered an irregular time.
Actually, I feel that stories like hers and mine make for good press and stand as testimonials to the importance of the Trojan Family, as your magazine is named. Your magazine seems to think so, otherwise why would you include such a letter.

Bill Valenta
valenta4@charter.net
Hickory, NC


Here I am, an old codger of 83, reading the magazine and recalling the time I spent at USC. I arrived in Los Angeles in the fall of 1945, just back in civvies and hoping to make it in time for the fall enrollment at USC. I had just gotten married to my Army nurse, who had waited for me while I went abombing over occupied Europe. Most of my clothes were uniforms.
While I was in England, my dad wrote to encourage me to think of “after the war” and offering to help me get located. I said that I would like to go to school and study with a man I met just before Pearl Harbor, a choral director named Max Krone, who was at Northwest University.
I had graduated from Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, in 1941 and was teaching music in high school in Medicine Lodge when the Pearl Harbor bombing was announced. At the exact moment, I was with a select group of my choir in Emporia, where Max Krone had come to direct an honor choir. Just as I was packing to board a ship for New York, a letter from dad informed me that he had traced Dr. Krone to ’SC, had written him and enclosed a copy of my transcript from KSTC, and had Dr. Krone’s assurance that I would be enrolled at ’SC as soon as I arrived. My wife and I had driven across the country in our 1920 Hudson, taken a room in a motel, and found the campus in time to join the enrollment line outside the gym. After signing up for graduate school along with a zillion other veterans, I found that Max had arranged for us to live in the back bedroom of the home of one of the music faculty members (she was a Jayhawker).
’SC was greatly different from the USC of today, but it was a home-away-from-home for us, and both the faculty and the students became friends, largely because we were all either GIs or else very understanding students who wanted to do anything they could for the GIs.
I must say that I not only enjoyed my time at ’SC, but I was and am proud to say that I spent two wonderful years with friends I shared with Tommy Trojan. And reading USC Trojan Family Magazine brings back memories of a time when it was not always easy to adjust to “peace- time instead of death and destruction.”

Elwood Morris Jones Jr., MA ’47
San Diego, CA


In Memoriam

I was deeply saddened by the news of the death of Dr. Arthur W. Gutenberg (Autumn 2001, “Deaths,” p. 79). He was my mentor, guide, benefactor and “guru” for all the years that I spent at the business school. He was a great man, and I credit him with my academic success at USC. He was very sympathetic to the struggling foreign student and went out of his way to help anybody who would come up to his standards of hard work and perseverance toward an academic goal.
After my dissertation defense on Jan. 16, 1975, he asked me to accompany him to the Management Department. He did not say a word about the defense, but he gave the papers (evidently signed by the dissertation committee members) to the department secretary and said to her, “Please give Dr. Bhatia a copy of these papers.” That was the first time anybody had addressed me as Dr. Bhatia, and I was elated. “Oh, thank you, Dr. Gutenberg,” I said. He replied, “Bhatia, you don’t have to call me Dr. Gutenberg any more, you can now call me Art.” To which I replied, “I could never call you Art. You will always and forever remain the respected Dr. Gutenberg to me.” He still is.

Anand R. Bhatia, MBA ’66, DBA ’75
San Bernardino, CA


On a sweltering summer evening in August 1998, I had the privilege of interviewing the gracious, articulate and pert Lucy Ann Webster, the first president of the Trojan League of Los Angeles, in her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif. In preparation for my visit, Lucy Ann had pulled out her scrapbooks and was able to reconstruct the events that led to the formation of the Trojan League.
Although even to this day, she could not comprehend why Arnold Eddy had selected her for this position, it became clear to me that he recognized that her leadership skills and personality would attract other women who would help to fulfill the mission of the League.
With a special hug from this beautiful and vibrant woman, I felt the excitement that she exuded and retained for the Trojan women. On the long drive home, I felt privileged to have met and talked with our foundress, and with her recent passing, I feel even more grateful for this opportunity.

Darlene Dufau Reid ’67, MS ’69
Trojan League of Los Angeles
Malibu, CA

An obituary for Lucy Ann MacLean Webster ’37 can be found on page 67.


Notice Board

The Faculty Women’s Club of USC needs the help of former members or their families to complete our historical files, which we are donating to the University Archives. We are most interested in knowing what happened to the quilt made from patches of cloth from around the world that was auctioned off at the end of 1973-74. We also need meeting records of the Southland Regional Women’s Club and membership directories for 1922-1931. Please contact me at <lfriss@usc.edu> or call (818) 363-0677 with information, memorabilia or memories.

LLois Friss
Professor Emeritus and FWC Historian
Campus


 

We welcome letters from readers, although we do reserve the right to select and edit for space. Send letters to:

Mailbag, c/o USC Trojan Family Magazine, University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2538, fax: (213) 821-1100

And of course, by e-mail at magazines@usc.edu