The story on the new lodge [“Welcome to the Woods,” January/February] was full of wonderful photographs and some welcome historical and recent information.
During my 30-year teaching career at the College from 1984 to 2014, I had the privilege and honor on two occasions to be a faculty speaker for first-years assembled there at the end of their completed trips. The magical, eager expectations in their eyes remain vivid in my memory, as do my fond recollections of the original lodge.
Dartmouth’s director of campus planning, Joanna Whitcomb, recently invited me to attend a dinner she organized there. All of its wonders leaped from its astonishingly realized interior. Those remarkable, curving support “tree-columns” invite your eyes and tempt your fingers to caress them. The masonry in the fireplace is awesome.
Before dinner, Joanna gave us a walkabout. Her narrative revealed the amazing saga of how she and a dedicated group of folks in facilities planning, not mentioned in the story, undertook this massive project. Clearly, she felt profound pride in seeing a job well done. Perhaps, if this story appears in book form, her contributions and those of other key players might be spelled out.
William John Summers
Thank you for the superb lodge article! Your words and photographs beautifully show the handsome nature of this new landmark. I am amazed at the truly sculptural quality achieved by the designers and builders of the interior structure and how well photographer Trent Bell captured their art. Kudos to all and particularly classmate Put Blodgett ’53 for his forward thinking.
Rodger Ewy ’53
The College has difficulty raising enough money to pay professors, to provide financial aid to those students who need it, to even heat the place in those rough Hanover winters. In other words, it needs all the financial help it can get. I was appalled by those alums who contributed millions, not to the College, but to fixing up Moosilauke Lodge. What were they thinking? Moosilauke Lodge is an expensive disgrace.
Robert Wool ’55
New York City
A Rich Life
Thank you for your wonderful tribute to Joe Rago ’05 [“No Ordinary Joe,” January/February]. I was an avid reader of his work in The Wall Street Journal and was stunned to learn of his death. I had no idea about his rich life before he embarked on a career in journalism. He did so much. What a tremendous loss.
Hudson River Valley, New York
I was in the Army during the 1960s. I never left the country. With regard to the member of the class of 1967 who deserted [“Crossing the Line,” September/October], I have one observation: For every deserter or civilian who left the country during the war, someone else went to Vietnam in his place.
Marsh Potterton ’62
All the letter writers in the November/December issue gave thoughtful views. I spent four years in the Air Force as a munitions officer, and I was in Thailand from January 1970 to 1971. Great and terrible things happened to our wing members.
My best friend from high school pointed out to me our nation’s basic error in Vietnam—the United States, a country born of revolution from a colonial power, was a major backer of the French recolonization of Vietnam after WW II.
He was a conscientious objector, and when I was in Thailand, I wrote a letter of support for him to his draft board because he was the most honest, intellectually brilliant person I knew. When it refused to give him that status, he starved himself to 104 pounds to fail his physical. I imagine most conscientious objectors had the same integrity, so we should not slight their stance. Likewise, I would never condemn soldiers who followed what they thought were valid orders. I was one of them, and I greatly regret I did not see the folly of that war long before I arrived in Thailand. All sacrificed in their own way, some making the ultimate sacrifice, which I would never equate with my own sacrifice. The best we can hope for is that we learn from our nation’s mistakes and produce a more rational, humble and humanitarian country.
Don Ries ’66
Since my first days at Dartmouth, we never compared ourselves with anyone [“Could Bigger Be Better?” November/December]. We were Dartmouth, period, as strong a brand as any I could imagine.
Dartmouth cannot and could never compete with major research universities. We don’t have the resources or the university culture. More important, why would we bother to try? We can’t be all things to all people. We must stay focused on our brand—an undergraduate, teaching-oriented learning laboratory that trains students to have excellent analytical and communication skills. Dartmouth is not a graduate school. It is a developer of outstanding students ready to conquer the world and be welcomed into top graduate schools.
We must invest our resources in our undergraduates, improve Dartmouth’s infrastructure, change popular professors’ schedules to permit two sections of favorite courses and expand the foreign study programs with additional professors. Furthermore, by concentrating on attracting America’s best and brightest young people, Dartmouth will continue to develop exceptionally productive graduates.
John E. Clark Jr. ’62
Hawthorne, New Jersey