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Letters to the Editor

Wanted: More Photos

Enjoyed the article on the Grove so much. Wish you would have included a lot more pictures. Mr. Jerry Pickering is to be commended and celebrated for his interest and foresight in preserving this iconic part of IUP and also for adding trees to spaces at IUP and for creating an arboretum at the university.

Would love to see the fall issue of IUP Magazine have a photo spread of other photos of the Grove, present and past. He’s right about how you may forget many of the people, but you remember the space.

Pat Sellers ’65
Jamison, PA

Still Needing Trees?

As an amateur horticulturist, I found the article “ Evolution of the Oak Grove” very informative. It is particularly interesting how felled trees from the campus are constructively used, as well as the scientific approach that is being utilized to refurbish the campus with new tree life.

Fallen trees in the Oak Grove

The Oak Grove lost two trees when a large white oak next to Sutton Hall fell in June. Photo: David Raymond

I’m wondering if there is still a need for additional trees in the Oak Grove, and secondly, what would be the approximate cost to have one planted?

Donald Guerrieri ’68, M’71
Greensburg, PA

Editor’s Note: According to Jerry Pickering, Allegheny Arboretum board chair, the board plans to add more trees to the Oak Grove. The need grew when a large white oak fell in June, knocking down a neighboring tree as well. A tree may be donated for $500, and a bench for $1,750. For more information, send e-mail to iup-giving@iup.edu.

Virgin Lights

Does anyone remember the virgin lights?

In October 1967, they installed overhead lights in the Oak Grove. Prior to that time, the Oak Grove was very dark at night. Once they were turned on, they were called “the Virgin Lights.”

I was a freshman starting in September 1967 and remember the change in the Grove very well. It was the talk of the campus—or at least for the guys living in the dorms.

I also remember the Blue Room in Sutton Hall. It was also an interesting place for “young love.”

Rob Edwards ’71
Dillsburg, PA

Not a Nation

In the latest issue of IUP Magazine, in the article [“ Growing Globally”], you have taken a huge politically correct step backward. Creating the nation of West Bank in your article will certainly not offend anybody except the world’s Jewish population—and anybody who recognizes that when a nation (Israel) is attacked (1967), the losers pay.

There is, in fact, a two-part activity attempting to be a state in the Middle East. The Gaza Strip is run by terrorist organization Hamas, and the rest of the activity is run by Palestinians, who would like to have the land (the West Bank) they lost in wartime. But, they don’t have it and don’t have a state.

I am proud of my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree earned at IUP. However, the creation of a new nation, unknown to the rest of the world, is not my idea of what students should be taught, nor alumni asked to accept.

Richard Buczek ’58, M’73
Retired Colonel, US Army
Sykesville, MD

Editor’s Note: The West Bank falls under the generic label of “country” on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency website, the source IUP uses for coding countries in its database. But, as the writer indicates, it is a territory and not a country.

The Other Sutton Hall

Being a 1975 grad from IUP, I wanted to say that I enjoyed the recent articles “Evolution of the Oak Grove” and “ Coming Home,” where the senior class is restoring some of the Thomas Sutton Hall dining room windows.

During my years at IUP, and as a former resident of Mack Hall, I recall marching up the steps past Tom Sutton Hall to get to my 8:00 a.m. Calculus classes in the snow. We would cut through the building (the portions open to traveling through) several times to keep warm on our trek to and from classes.

Prior to its demolition, we were afforded a wonderful tour of Tom Sutton and John Sutton Halls. This was at the end of the spring semester (I believe it was 1978, but it may have been 1977). Mainly alumni and parents chose to take the tour, but very few students. I was always interested in its architecture, structure, wonderful marble features, and beautiful windows, so I signed up for a tour. Most people only toured John Sutton Hall, but you could also go through Tom Sutton Hall. I took many photographs of the beautiful windows and rooms, especially the second floor of Tom Sutton, which had a beautiful open area to the first floor. They used to have the music classrooms up there, and when people lived there, the Christmas tree used to extend through the open area between the first and second floors. Sad to say, though, I was a poor college student, and couldn’t afford to develop the film at the time, and through all the moves, the little canister has since been lost. If I recall correctly, though, there were beautiful skylight windows above this second floor area in addition to the beautiful ones in the dining room portion. [John and Thomas Sutton halls] were constructions along the lines of what you never see these days. Marble in the bathrooms! Amazing!

Students stopped living in John Sutton Hall as a dormitory the year prior to my attending IUP, and I had several friends who had lived in “the tower” rooms. Everyone always thought they were premium rooms, but the girls who lived in them said it was the worst mistake, as they were the coldest rooms in the winter. Great views of the Oak Grove, though.

So, I would love to see if someone could search the archives for any photos of these beautiful, long-gone portions of IUP’s historic buildings—buildings that had so much connection to those of us who attended before 1978. At the time, you never even think that these buildings would disappear, and yet they do.

Carolyn Moser Klages ’79
Oviedo, FL

Editor’s Note: Additional photos of Thomas Sutton Hall and the Oak Grove appear on the IUP Magazine website, www.iup.edu/magazine.

Life Richer Because of Betts

I was saddened when I read recently in IUP Magazine of the passing of my former English professor, Dr. William Betts. I have taught both English and mathematics for more than 30 years in Baltimore. Just four years ago, I read here that he had recently published a book about Chief Cornplanter and took the opportunity to write to Dr. Betts to let him know how much his teaching had meant to me.

My life has been richer because I was once a student of his. I attended IUP in the 1970s and had the pleasure of being in two of his classes. The first of these was an introductory poetry course.

It is because of him that I have recently memorized Housman’s “Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff.” Because of him, I can recite both “When I Was One-and-Twenty” and “When I Was Ten and She Fifteen.” While in his poetry class in the mid-1970s, I learned to love the sound of poetry, mostly due to his wonderful delivery of the lines. I still pick up various editions ofPerrine’s Sound and Sense, our text for the poetry class he taught, from any used book sale at which I find them, just to add them to my classroom library, which I still maintain although I switched from teaching middle school English to high school mathematics years ago.

I tell Bill Betts stories to my students. I explain that he once asked us to identify the writer who spoke of hearing “a different drummer,” and how I, confusing quotations from two posters I’d put up on my dorm room wall, responded eagerly that it was Pearl Buck. His smiling response of “Oh my, no!” has made its way into my own classroom, and I use that phrase freely, just to have the opportunity to speak of his class and of the glorious introduction to appreciating language that it was. His mellifluous voice infused magic into any poem he recited, which he did from memory frequently during class.

For the final exam, Dr. Betts told us that we would be analyzing in depth a single poem from the final section of the text. We couldn’t possibly know them all, of course, but we knew we should get familiar with as many of those poems as possible. Just before the exam, I pointed out a particular Ted Hughes poem about a pig to the student across the aisle from me, mentioning how unusual and brutally raw it was, sandwiched between poems such as “Lucifer in Starlight” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” When Dr. Betts actually assigned the pig poem to my row, the slack-jawed fellow across the aisle believed me to be psychic, rather than just the lucky stiff I knew myself to be.

I read Joseph Wambaugh’s The Onion Field simply because Dr. Betts mentioned that he had read it one weekend and found it compelling. I still recommend it to friends and students. It is even now in my classroom library.

I often retell his amusing story of a young man he’d taught who tried to argue that “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was about Santa Claus. It was, after all, “the darkest evening of the year.” This is another poem I have committed to memory because of his wonderful presentation of it in class.

I earned a B in that poetry class and decided I had to do better. Dr. Betts deserved better from me. I chose to take his Shakespeare class a year later and earned my A.

For the final exam in that class, Dr. Betts required us to “enjoy committing to memory” some 25 lines from any play of Shakespeare. Five summers ago, I had to smile when I heard Clarence’s dream (the lines I’d learned for his final exam) in the presentation of Richard III I saw at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts.

One more thing—every so often I reread A Docketful of Wry, a small book full of outrageously amusing excerpts from IUP freshman English papers which Dr. Betts collected over the years, and it never fails to delight. When I mentioned this in my letter, he responded by sending me his newer version, retitled Slips that Pass in the Night.

Dr. Betts was an inspiration, and I feel privileged to have known him. I’m so glad that I took the time to tell him so.

Teresa Palomar ’76
Baltimore, MD