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A Trail to Follow

Sometimes you are lucky enough to meet someone who touches your life and makes a lasting effect. One of the people who made a difference in my life was my fencing coach at IUP (1977-80). She was a talented coach who was dedicated to the sport of fencing. I’m sure she taught many students to fence and faced many obstacles as a woman in sports before Title IX.

Nancy Barthelemy was hired at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1970 to coach women’s volleyball and fencing. She was also a competitive field hockey player who several times made a regional team that competed in national tournaments.

I read this in her obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and was sorry I never got to know her better. And that I never got to tell her how much the three years on IUP’s fencing team meant to me. After I graduated, fencing was one of the things I missed most until I found a local club in 1997. I started fencing again and hope to be involved in the sport as long as she was.

By her example, Ms. Barthelemy taught us discipline, integrity, and good sportsmanship—all of which are missing in many sports programs today—as well as fencing skills. She had high expectations for how hard you worked on the fencing strip as well as how you conducted yourself in front of teammates and opposing teams. We were not top fencers, but she made me feel proud to be a part of her team and motivated me to be as good a fencer as I was able.

I also read in her obituary that she was given a Pennsylvania HERitage Award for her lifetime achievements, presented by the Pennsylvania Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. It was written on the award that Ms. Barthelemy “did not follow where the path led but instead went where there was no path and left a trail.”

I’m glad I had a chance to know her.

Barbara Sheetz '80
Zionsville, Pa.

“Grow Up!”

I was surprised and disappointed to see the article titled “The Uninvited” in the Winter-Spring 2004 issue. It displayed embarrassing examples of poor sportsmanship and childish whining. There’s an old cliché that goes, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Well, this quaint notion seems to have been lost on the coaches and players in IUP’s football squad. If the quotations are accurate, Coach Cignetti wallows in self-pity as he describes the team’s placement in NCAA rankings and describes his staff and team as victims of some cosmically unjust decisions by unidentified bad guys. Unfortunately neither the writer nor the editor seem to have made any effort to find out what was in the minds of the NCAA decision makers, a stunning lapse in basic journalism.

I would have hoped that the IUP athletes were trained to do their best and face the consequences of failure with dignity. Instead, they are being taught to whimper about how unfair the system is and, what is worse, to do so in public in the pages of the official publication of the university. I have one simple suggestion to both the football folks and those responsible for publishing the magazine: Grow Up!

David Linton ’64, M’69
New York, N.Y.

Doctoral Degree Pioneers

It was nice to read in IUP Class Notes that William O’Bruba D’71 was the first person to receive a Doctor of Education in Elementary Education degree from IUP. Two years later in 1973 were two more educators following him: Dr. Michael Girman, superintendent of schools at Turtle Creek Area, Frazier, and West Mifflin, and Francis Matika, superintendent of Schools at Brentwood and later executive director of Beaver County Intermediate Unit in 1973.

Several years later both served on evaluation committees at the university.

Michael Girman D’73
Munhall, Pa.

IUP Supports ROTC

I received IUP Magazine in the mail yesterday and want to thank you for the fine article by Marilyn Kukula. The “Beyond the Books” article about Sgt. Anthony Seybold and the other IUP students that are members of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard was great. We have the largest National Guard in the nation with over 16,000 citizen soldiers. Many of these soldiers have been deployed the world over in the global war on terrorism.

Sgt. Seybold is one of those soldiers that left his everyday life to answer the call of his nation. These soldiers have been trained and are ready to serve when called. They are a credit to their generation. I was very fortunate to have instructed ROTC at IUP, as a National Guard Officer, from 1993 to 1997. During this time, I was asked to commission many of the new lieutenants that IUP ROTC produced. These fine people are now leading soldiers in places like Iraq and Afghanistan as members of the National Guard, active Army, or Reserve. I am truly honored to have been part of their life at IUP.

The support that IUP provides to the Military Science Department and to the military in general is outstanding. I could always count on the support of the administration, faculty, and staff when it was needed. Thank you for continuing to provide the support to our military. It truly makes us proud to be associated with such a fine institution.

Lt. Col. David L. Edwards
Recruiting and Retention Commander
Pennsylvania Army National Guard
Fort Indiantown Gap