'Crazy Kid' Makes Good

I enjoyed the feature about Dave Wolper in the Autumn 1999 issue [“L.A. Influen-tial,” p. 24]. I especially liked the vintage snapshots and other pictures related to the accomplishments of Mr. Wolper’s career.
The picture on page 26 (circa 1948) carried fond memories of my acquaintance with Dave. Jack W. Tucker JD ’53, introduced me to Dave, and the three of us went to probably all the basketball games being played at the time at the nearby Olym-pic Auditorium. One of us would go early and get seats on the floor at the corner of the court. After the game, we would go to the nearby suds-dispenser called Turner’s. It was a gym by day and kind of a food-drink place at night. Dave was very much into the ’SC Trojan spirit, and loved to stand on top of a table and lead spirited yells on into the evening.
To read now of David Wolper’s great successes – well, neither Tucker nor I would have guessed, in 1948, that this crazy kid would ever amount to anything! I especially enjoyed his work in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Allen E. Hofferber ’52, DDS ’54
Pagosa Springs, CO

Streak Buster

I wish to differ with a statement in your article “Marking Time,” in the Autumn issue – the paragraph on “Champions” [p. 46]. In it, you stated: “Between 1959 and 1985, the university won at least one national team title each year.”
I recall that on my graduation day in 1958, USC’s baseball team won the NCAA championship. Either that same day or within a week or two, USC also won the NCAA track and field championship. Then I recalled a third: tennis. Your stated run beginning in 1959 suggests that 1959 was the first year of the consecutive years of USC champions. I consulted the USC Sports Web site to verify my recollection as being accurate. This page (
www.fansonly.com/schools/usc/trads /usc-nattitles.html) asserted the same dates as your article: “From 1959-60 to 1984-1985.”
Perhaps your information was from the same source as the Web site. But then a simple per-usal of the data following the text clearly revealed that USC did indeed win the three above-mentioned titles in 1958. However (and I’m using the Web site data as my source), there were no titles in 1959 nor in 1982. If you consider the women’s basketball championship in 1983 as covering 1982 as well (i.e., the 1982-1983 season), this logic is inconsistent with your “each/every year” claim, since no title was won in the 1981-1982 season. And for 1959, did the season for the 1960 swimming championship begin in 1959?
My suggested revision of your statement would go something like this: “Between 1958 and 1959, the university won at least one national team title in each year except two – 1959 and 1982.”
Please give proper credit to the fineathletes on those 1958 teams who contributed to USC’s athletic heritage.

Jerry Leavitt ’58
Reynoldsburg, OH

Jim Perry ’64, assistant athletic director, replies: The reference to USC’s national titles in USC Trojan Family Magazine is incorrect the way it is written, but the information on the Web site is correct. In the 26 academic years from 1959-60 to 1984-85, USC did win at least one national title.
The key is looking at the academic year and not the calendar year. As Jerry Leavitt points out, USC did indeed win national titles in baseball, tennis and track in 1958, but those came in the spring of the academic year 1957-58. In 1958-59, USC did not win a national title, so the streak actually began in 1959-60. However, the university did win a national title in the 1981-82 school year in women’s volleyball (in the fall of 1981) to keep the streak alive through 1984-85.

Millennium Angst

The Class of 1999 is the last class of the 20th century [Autumn 1999, Editor’s Note, p. 4]?! The general public doesn’t know any better, but an academic institution certainly should.

James R. Duke MBA ’72
Santa Monica, CA

I realize that this is a futile exercise but I would still like to take exception to the indication, in Editor’s Note in the Autumn 1999 issue, that USC’s 116th commencement exercises, which were held in May 1999, were for the last class of the 20th century.
I recognize that the powers-that-be have decreed that we celebrate the coming of the 21st century and the third millennium at the end of 1999. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that two millennia is equal to 2,000 years and by the end of 1999, only 1,999 years will have elapsed. Therefore, we need another year to complete the century and the millennium, and that year is the year 2000. The commencement exercises in May 2000 will in fact be for the last class of the 20th century.
I know that this is not of earthshaking importance, but I am still somewhat disturbed that an institution of learning, which is dedicated to ascertaining and disseminating the truth, should instead follow the crowd.

George R. Perrin ’52
New York, NY

The editors reply: Though everyone from Newsweek’s “CW” to manufacturers of “The Millennium 2000 Countdown” clock (not to mention sponsors of the Los Angeles Millennium Show – see “Notice Board” below) accept the folk-wisdom that New Year’s Eve 1999 marks the close of the millennium, a higher authority, the U.S. Naval Observatory, is decidedly on your side. This agency’s Web site (psyche.usno.navy.mil/millennium) states categorically that the third millennium and the 21st century begin January 1, 2001:
“This date is based on the now globally recognized Gregorian calendar, the initial epoch of which was established by the 6th-century scholar Dionysius Exiguus, who was compiling a table of dates of Easter.
“Rather than starting with the year zero, years in this calendar begin with the date January 1, 1 Anno Domini. Consequently, the next millennium does not begin until January 1, 2001 AD.”
The choice seems to be populism vs. technical accuracy. We went with populism.

Fan Mail

I just received the USC Trojan Family Magazine today and dropped everything to spend more than an hour reading it from cover to cover. Loved it! Congratulations on another great issue.

Garry Short ’59
Newport Beach, CA

In Praise of Alumni News

I am writing to you in regards to alumni updates in the USC Trojan Family Magazine. Let me begin by thanking you for the work that you and all of your editors do. I love the fact that I can keep up with my fellow alumni, bit-by-bit, student-by- student. I feel very honored to be a part of the university.

Joubin Mortazavi ’96
Los Angeles, CA

I deeply appreciate your nice write up of my wife’s death in the Summer 1999 USC Trojan Family Magazine, Class of 1943. Although she only went there her senior year, she held the education department in high esteem and became a good teacher for several years.

Jack Vennema
Holland, MI

We encourage alumni to send us items for the Alumni News column. Mail them to Neil Miller, USC Trojan Family Magazine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2538.

Notice Board

Dear alumni: The new millennium is almost upon us and I invite you all to
celebrate with the USC Marching Band at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on New Year’s Eve.
I am proud to be involved in the production of this music and fireworks extravaganza on our home turf. In addition to the Band, there will be over 3,000 singers, dancers and local band members along with celebrity guests providing an entertainment extravaganza preceding the largest fireworks display in Los Angeles at the stroke of midnight.
There is also a dance party in the Sports Arena afterwards to usher in the new millennium. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations and on the Web (
www.ticketmaster.com) or you can visit our Web site (www.la2000.com) or call 1-877-LAS-SHOW for more information.

Steven C. Smith ’71, ’78
Los Angeles, CA

Attention Trojans! The Southern Califor-nia Hospital Recruitment Alliance is put-ting together a “Big Game Blood Drive,” a friendly competition between USC and UCLA alumni that will conclude with the announcement of the winner during half-time of the Big Game in November.
Here’s how it works: Whole blood donations will count for one point, and platelet donations count for three points. Alumni blood donations can be made at one of a dozen hospitals located in the Los Angeles/ Orange County areas; the blood donated to a local community will be available for use within that community. Donations may be made through November 19, 1999. Appointments with your local participating hospital blood bank will be necessary.
Please contact Tim Smith, donor services and recruitment, Providence Health System, Los Angeles Service Area, at the Parsons Blood Donor Center in Burbank at 818-557-5496, if you have any questions or need a list of the hospitals that belong to the Recruitment Alliance. Donate On!

James F. McIntosh MD ’81
Newhall, CA

As part of the USC History Project, the USC Alumni Association encourages alumni and friends of the university to donate their USC “archives” back to the university.
We are particularly looking for photos, sketches, layouts, etc., of Widney Alumni House. It is our goal to display some of the more interesting items in the Alumni House on a permanent basis.
If you have any materials (such as yearbooks, programs, pictures, etc.) that you would like to donate, please contact Margaret Doss at (213) 740-2300.

Gerald S. Papazian ’77
USC Alumni Association



Previous Last Word Answers
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