Perspectives

10/08/01
2nd looks from the 2nd floor of Kaprielian Hall
by Alfred G. Kildow
Meanwhile, the university goes on …

Due in bookstores now is “Blast off! Rockets, Robots, Ray Guns and Rarities From the Golden Age of Space Toys.” If you think this is the product of some Caltech nerd or a teen-age rocket launcher, think again. On the other hand, you might even be right. The book is by S. Mark Young, who by day is a management accounting professor at USC. When he steps outside the phone booth, he collects rockets, ray guns and the like – toys inspired by guys like Flash Gordon and Captain Video. Young’s exhibit of space-age toys is the centerpiece of an exhibit at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. The show, “Blast Off! Space Toys and the American Imagination,” runs from Oct. 7 to Jan. 13.

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If your tastes or inquisitiveness run to modern Russian culture, there is opportunity for all in the community to learn about an array of resources available for research on Russian art, literature and the performing arts. It’s all housed at the USC Institute for Modern Russian Culture, GFS 336 to 342. On Oct. 19 at 2 p.m., the IMRC will describe its resources at an informal presentation. Somewhat later, on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m., the IMRC will screen “Socialist Realist Musicals” at one of its Vintage Russian Movie Nights.

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The career of Ruth Simmons began to soar in 1979 when she came to USC as assistant, then associate, dean of graduate studies. It was her first administrative post in an academic career that included faculty stints at New Orleans, Northridge, Spelman and Princeton, where she rose to vice provost. Soon it was on to Smith College in Massa chusetts, as president – starting the first engineering program in the nation at a women’s school. Next Sunday, Oct. 14, she will be inaugurated as the 18th president of Brown University, the first African-American to head an Ivy League institution. Not bad for the 12th child of sharecroppers from Grapeland, Texas. Her thoughtful essay, “My Mother’s Daughter: Lessons I Learned in Civility and Authenticity,” was published in the Texas Journal of Ideas, History and Culture (fall/winter 1998). Lest anyone doubt what intelligence and perseverance can do, Simmons received a bachelor’s degree at Dillard University in New Orleans, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Romance languages and literature at Harvard. Her many honors and awards are superfluous alongside her achievements.