Miamian Spring '09 - In your words, Letters to the editor

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Letters to the editor

Want to respond to something you read in Miamian? Feel free to submit letters to Include your name, class year, home address, and phone number.

The letters that ran in the Spring 2009 print edition of Miamian are marked with double asterisks (**).

Editor's note

Help me count the ways

I "heart" MiamiOne … watching redbud trees rain tiny pink petals on the Hub in the shadow of Elliott and Stoddard halls. Two … sharing a toasted roll with the first serious love of your life. Three … spending an evening in Millett Hall laughing with Garrison Keillor as he takes us to Lake Wobegon where moms still make lime Jell-0 for supper.

Miami memories. Whether they are recent, such as Mr. Keillor’s talk, or more distant, we all have them and enjoy sharing them. They are what connect us.

For example, I imagine my first day of college was similar to yours. Awe-struck by the upperclass students who could differentiate between the redbrick buildings, I joined a mass of fidgety freshmen as we walked into Bob Vogel’s communication class. He quieted our nerves by bounding around the lecture hall with a microphone to interview us, the world’s future broadcasters.

Throughout the course, we would come to learn that underneath all his enthusiastic arm-waving was a diligent professor always demanding our best. And we gave it because he believed we could.

Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite Miami story? What do you recall fondly? Perhaps a muddy game of touch football outside your dorm or a class dinner at your favorite professor’s house? What did you and your roommates discuss during walks across campus?

With Miami celebrating her 200th birthday this year, we thought it would be fun to put together an article on the 200 reasons why we love our alma mater.

Perhaps you sat in the front row of Benton Hall as poet Robert Frost peered sternly over the lectern. Or watched Big Ben play in Yager. No doubt some of you could regale us with broomball tales.

Your anecdotes don’t all have to be from the past either.

Bob MacGill ’48 says he’s ready to “dance an Irish jig” after cardiologist Pamela Mason ’95 gave him a pacemaker. They’re now fast friends, bonding over Miami memories — the 50 years between their graduations not withstanding. And Kristina Moffo Linberg ’02, part of a Miami merger, would love to show you a photo of her happy little boy cuddling Miami teddy bears in his stroller during his first tour of campus this past fall. Then there are Erin Lenger ’04 and Matthew Husband ’04 in their wedding finery kissing under the Upham Arch last June.

So capture your chronicles — sentimental, silly, and serious — and send them my way. E-mail me at or write to me at Miamian, 208 Glos Center, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056. Please include your name, class year, home address, and phone number.

Can’t wait to hear from you. We all love a good story.

Donna Boen '83
Donna Boen ’83 MTSC ’96, Editor

Letters to the Editor

Initial memory

**President Hodge’s “Center of Campus” and “The Evolution of Student Life” articles in the Fall Miamian brought back 50-year-old memories.

The year was 1957 when a 26-year-old Army officer veteran, Robert J. Shook ’58, returned to Miami with a wife, Barbara Sharkey ’55, and a baby girl, Julie Shook Muhlberger ’79, to finish his senior year. Looking for a part-time job, I was sent to Benton Hall [now known as Hall Auditorium] to inquire about a job-opening at the new student center. Yes, they wanted an older and more mature applicant with leadership experience.

Thus my tenure as the first student manager of the new Miami Student Center started under the supervision of Mr. Bystrom, the director. My various management duties were during evening hours and weekends, closing up and depositing receipts, with the honor of being the highest paid student on campus at $1 per hour.

Now with the demise of Shriver Center, I guess my initials in the attic will disappear as my memories of a wonderful experience and time of my life become history.

Robert Shook ’58
Troy, Ohio

Editor’s note: Actually, Robert’s initials are safe as the Shriver Center will not be torn down when the Bicentennial Student Center goes up. Shriver will continue to host university and community events and serve as the location for the bookstore.

**I want to salute you and the Miamian staff on the “A+” Fall 2008 issue! “The Evolution of Student Life” was indeed quite enlightening. (I have been wondering from here at the North Pole “Why do we need the BSC … another student center?”) Now I know!

Dr. Shriver’s Top Five was very special too. And “My Buddy” is a touching Miami memory.

Ron Helman ’55 MS ’57
Chassell, Mich.

Green with pride

**I wanted to congratulate you and provide my praise for the new “A Greener Miamian.” It was a change overdue to be made, and now that it has happened, I want to express my appreciation as an alumnus for the change. It is excellent to see that commitment to a greener publication.

Now I hope that same commitment will be expanded to the absolute degree possible in terms of other university publications and printing so that Miami University can be a leader as we as a nation make sustainability more than just a convenient term.

Edward Talbot ’75
Arvada, Colo.

Thanks, Buddy

**I can’t tell you how moved I was after reading “My Buddy” in the Fall Miamian.

I’m the youngest of eight. My sister, who was 18 months older than I, had Down syndrome. When she arrived, my siblings all knew she was special — not just because she had special needs. In their eyes, she was an angel. I’ve heard stories of her smile and laugh, which was pretty amazing considering all the surgeries she underwent in her young life. Julie passed away when she was 3 — in her sleep.

I don’t remember her, but the rest of my siblings certainly do — they’ll never forget her. I’ve always heard how special Down children are and wish I had been old enough to remember Julie.

Thanks to Ron Scheetz ’90 for sharing his story, and his buddy, with us.

Kathy Duffey Squance ’89
Oxford, Ohio

**When I received my Fall 2008 Miamian, I thought it looked more interesting than usual with the Bicentennial articles. I felt compelled to page through it immediately and just knew there was an article of extreme interest to me. There it was, on the last page, “My Buddy”!

I have a 10-year-old daughter with Down syndrome and loved Ron Scheetz’s article. I chose to forego prenatal testing but had a feeling my second child would have Down syndrome. Sure enough, the medical team suspected immediately after birth. We were very fortunate that other than an extra chromosome Lauren is healthy — no heart defect, no eye problems, no emergency trips to the hospital (except when she broke her foot on the playground last year).

She has brought so many wonderful people into our lives and keeps us laughing on a regular basis. She has her stepfather and step-siblings charmed, and I am lucky to have both of my beautiful daughters. Raising a child with special needs changes your priorities and outlook on life.

Robbie Hickel Harding ’83
Overland Park, Kan.

1970 revisited

**As a student who in 1970 spent the better part of a spring day as an uninvited occupant of Rowan Hall and the ensuing night in a Hamilton County jail as a result of that sit-in, I’m compelled to address the estimable Dr. Shriver’s analysis of that era (“Dr. Shriver’s Top Five Miami Milestones,” Fall 2008 Miamian).

To attribute the culmination of what is to date the most turbulent time in Miami’s history as being a result of the “flush-in” is an exercise in reductio ad absurdum. In point of fact, a series of events, far too numerous to mention here, resulted in nothing less than a chaotic unraveling of Miami’s social fabric (lest one thinks this is an exaggeration, believe me, you had to be there).

Only a premature end to the school year defused the charged atmosphere that existed at that time. The “flush-in” was at most a minimal blip on the radar screen of incidents. To assign a primary role to it is either disingenuous or is an example of the fluidity of memory over time. In either case, Dr. Shriver distorts and trivializes all that happened that spring.

Of course the ’60s seem like ancient times in so many ways, but that’s no excuse for inaccurate historical revisionism.

David Cowden ’70
Bridgewater, N.J.

What a difference individual perspective makes. …

I was surprised to open my copy of Miamian and find my picture in an article written by Dr. Shriver about Miami’s “milestones” — one of them being the Vietnam War protests (“Dr. Shriver’s Top Five Miami Milestones,” Fall Miamian).

Dr. Shriver is a man I greatly admire — one of Miami’s best presidents, truly a friend of the students, an extremely easy man to talk with, and one of the foremost historians about Miami University and Ohio. I have no doubt that Dr. Shriver’s commentary reflects his perspective quite accurately and is probably shared with his peers (other university presidents) who were responsible for their schools and student bodies and had to deal with the political unrest of that period.

However, as a student personally caught up in most of what Dr. Shriver described, I had a very different perspective of it all.

I should first explain that I was never an “activist.” I was definitely not politically motivated at that time, nor was I a ’60s “hippie.” I was a member of the Miami Men’s Glee Club and considered fairly “preppy” in those days. I was a freshman at Miami — just an average kid from Ohio who actually went to Miami to join the ROTC program. Failing the eye exam, that didn’t happen.

What Dr. Shriver described as a political sit-in and taking over of the ROTC building because the student body wanted the military off the campus was not why everyone was there that day. While I have no doubt that a number of students may well have had that motive, the vast majority of the students who showed up did so because word had spread there was to be a “battle of the bands” at that location, which did eventually happen, and most everyone went there to “hang out” in anticipation of that event.

The goal, for most students, was neither nefarious nor related to the military at all. In fact, as I was sitting there in the ROTC building at the bottom of the ladder with hands clasped in front of me (a photo of which I was unaware of until this Miamian article), I had just been informed that the “ROTC guys” had told “us” that we were welcome to use the facility as long as we “cleaned up afterward.” After all, we were all Miami students — ROTC members, many of whom where fraternity brothers of mine, and the rest of us. It was just a place to gather, set up musical instruments, and party for a while.

I am sure that, given the general political unrest on other campuses at the time, the perspective from administration was that this was a political statement and appeared to be a “takeover” of a campus building. For the vast majority of us, however, it was just a bunch of kids wanting to listen to some music and have some fun, after which everyone would go home and get back to classes the next day.

Unfortunately, again from our perspective, someone in administration overreacted. The rumor was that it was not Dr. Shriver, but someone under him whose name escapes me. Probably fearing the worst (from their perspective), this person called in the Butler County Sheriff’s Department – and that’s when it turned ugly.

In that late afternoon/early evening, the sheriff’s cars arrived, the officers saw students everywhere and probably fearing the worst (from their perspective), did not take time to analyze the situation. (Remember, no students were being hostile at that point). The officers almost immediately released their attack dogs (German shepherds as I recall) and began shooting canisters of tear gas into the crowd.

I was right there observing it all, no longer in the ROTC building, but out on campus. I later picked up one of the tear gas canisters (after it cooled) as a souvenir because I knew this was something I would never see again.

When the dogs began attacking a few students just a dozen or so feet from me, and the tear gas was being fired into the crowd, only then did the students begin to react in a hostile manner. I observed a dozen students surround one of the sheriff’s cars and begin shaking it back and forth in an attempt to overturn it. They may have succeeded, but I’m not sure as I immediately ran away from the entire scene in fear of what might happen next. At that point, it looked like what I’d always thought riots might look like. Officers were literally beating students with their clubs, students were fighting back, some in self-defense, some not. Some students were crying, some were screaming, many were just staring in total disbelief, but most students were just running in every direction, trying to get away from it all.

I know there were several fires as a result of all of this, but they were not a political statement about the military being on campus – they were about what had just happened to the students. Afterward, there were a number of non-violent things done in support of an effort to gain amnesty for those students who had been caught, charged, and possibly expelled afterward. I seem to recall that number being somewhere around 130.

It was a terrible, sad day for everyone at Miami – students and administration alike. But from my perspective, I truly believe that had the sheriff’s department not been called in, it would have all faded gracefully, like the music, and none of this would have happened.

As for the “great flush-in,” while I do not know who actually organized the effort, I do recall the person on my floor at Symmes Hall (not me) being the organizer for that building. I must admit I did participate in that event, being personally responsible for several sinks in the third floor lavatory. At the time, we all thought it would be “funny” and that the only consequence would be a minor, momentary disruption in the homes of faculty, administration, and maybe a few townspeople in their ability to get water for preparing their evening’s meal – truly something that would last only a few minutes. If there was an engineering genius who had planned the actual, long-term effect, that plan was certainly never shared with the rest of us. In my view, it was a practical joke that went seriously awry.

Dr. Shriver was certainly accurate in his description of what happened afterward. We all suffered for a week or so with few working restrooms and little to no drinking water. As I recall, several hundred students in Symmes Hall had to share one bathroom. Not the best of times.

Looking back at the “riot,” the rumor on campus, at that time, was that there had been a few “outside agitators” who had come to the Miami campus to stir things up (politically) and subsequently went on to Kent State several days later – and we all know what happened there. Whether that was true or not, I’ll never know.

Still, looking back at all of this, nearly 40 years later, these and all of the rest of my Miami memories from my four years in Oxford were some of the best times of my entire life and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. And, maybe that’s the perspective of time.

David Dillehunt ’73
Fayetteville, N.C.

Response from Miami President Emeritus Phillip Shriver:

April 15, 1970, was a day I shall never forget. It was the 26th anniversary of the wedding of Martha and myself, but it was also the day of the sit-in at Miami’s Naval ROTC building, Rowan Hall, in protest of the War in Vietnam.

The “student movement,” ultimately largely directed against U.S. participation in the War in Southeast Asia, had its inception on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1964. It then spread across the West Coast and reached the East Coast by 1968-69, highlighted by the weeklong student occupation of the office of President Grayson Kirk of Columbia University, a Miami graduate of the Class of 1924.

One of the objectives of the student movement was the elimination of ROTC programs on college campuses across the country. Among those where the military presence on campus (represented by the ROTC program) was terminated were Harvard and Yale. At Yale, where I had served as regimental commander of the Naval V-12 unit in World War II, a small concession was ultimately made: Yale students would be permitted to travel to the University of Connecticut at Storrs, Conn., to take ROTC courses no longer offered at Yale.

By 1969-70, the student movement, including sit-ins in ROTC and other campus buildings, had reached the Midwest. Sit-ins occurred in most if not all of the states, including Ohio, where Ohio State, Ohio University, Miami, and Kent State experienced significant anti-war protests.

Anticipating problems at the state’s public universities, Ohio’s Governor James A. Rhodes directed the Ohio Highway Patrol to assign a “plain clothes” patrol officer to each of the state universities. Then, if trouble broke out, the state’s police force, the Highway Patrol, would be quick to respond through the presence of the “plain clothes” patrolman on each campus. It had been made known to the university presidents by the governor at a meeting in Columbus that we were to keep this “in confidence.” Though I was aware that a highway patrolman was on Miami’s Oxford campus, to this day I have no idea who he was, where he was staying, or what he was doing.

In the afternoon of April 15, 1970, word spread across the Miami campus that a sit-in would take place in the late afternoon/early evening hours at the Naval ROTC building, Rowan Hall, in the center of campus. On hearing this, the Naval ROTC commander evacuated the building, locked all doors, and instructed the midshipmen to avoid confrontation with the anti-war protesters.

Not long after, the vanguard of the protesters reached Rowan Hall. Finding the doors locked, they broke them down and entered the building. The number of students inside eventually reached about 180, including some who were there under the mistaken notion that a musical “battle of bands” was about to take place, as well as 15 black students who were there to demand a marked increase in the number of black faculty and students on campus.

It was then that Miami’s Vice President for Student Affairs Robert F. Etheridge made the first of three appearances in Rowan Hall, telling the students in no uncertain terms that they were breaking the law and to evacuate the building or risk arrest. Ultimately, the black students and about a dozen others did leave the building.

At that point a detachment of some 50 Highway Patrol officers arrived, not called by any university official but by the “plain clothes” patrolman whose identity to this moment remains unknown. Professional in demeanor, the 50 highway patrolmen gave those inside one last opportunity to leave and then proceeded to arrest the remaining students (some 150 in number), taking them one by one to a waiting bus parked behind Rowan Hall.

It was after the bus was filled and they tried to start it to drive to the Oxford Police Station uptown for booking that it was found that the bus would not start. It was later learned that someone had pulled the wires off the distributor in the motor.

At that point the Highway Patrol signaled “May Day,” a call to local law enforcement officers that an emergency was on hand. Responding to the call was Butler County Sheriff Carpenter, with deputies, dogs, and tear gas. What had been a very orderly arrest process immediately became a scene of chaos. The sheriff’s deputies, not professionally trained as were the highway patrolmen, turned the dogs and the tear gas on the students who had gathered outside Rowan Hall.

The events of the next hour — on camera and off — almost defy description. Students were sprayed with tear gas, some even while trying to escape the gas by climbing trees. Others including some fraternity men tried to get back inside their fraternity houses while being pursued by dogs.

Suffice it to say, to some of the sheriff’s deputies who had served in the armed forces or who had sons, friends, or brothers still fighting in Vietnam, the anti-war protesters were students who were deferred from the military draft because they were students and thus exempt. (Interestingly, Miami had one student in his 10th year of college classes, one major after another but never quite finishing any of them for a degree because his draft exempt status would have ended when he graduated.)

The events of April 15 radicalized the campus. The “flush-in” that followed a week later pushed the pendulum in the opposite direction. The spring of 1970 would seemingly never end, as crisis after crisis unfolded. Eventually some 712 colleges and universities would be forced to close, some for a few days, some for many months. Miami would close for 10 days following a night of seven fires on campus. When classes resumed, 900 students and 50 faculty stood fire watch in all the campus buildings. Fortunately, there were no more fires. The academic year came to a close. The Class of 1970 graduated. Despite the Cambodian Incursion, the War in Southeast Asia would eventually come to a close. The ROTC units, both Naval and Air Force, are still in place on the Miami campus, though in Millett Hall, no longer in Rowan.

I believe to this day that U.S. military officers still ought to be prepared in significant numbers on predominately “civilian” campuses where cadets and midshipmen are in daily interaction and discourse with those of varying views, rather than primarily in “military” campuses where they interact only with themselves.

Our Miami years

**Thank you, Robert Klima, for your Class Note in the Fall 2008 Miamian.

I was tickled pink that you wrote: “For what it’s worth, at least one ’43 is alive and well …”

Your simple note shined with that indomitable MU Spirit! It piqued my curiosity for YOUR Miami years while prodding me to reflect on mine. We may be worlds apart in age and experiences, but together we are the collective Miami University!

Liz Cutler Bishop ’85
Carlisle, Mass.

Closing a chapter

It was sad to read about the end of an era with regards to the transfer of programming authority from Miami’s WMUB-FM to Cincinnati Public Radio. Congratulations are due to all of the present and past staff members at WMUB radio for their hard work and service to the greater Butler County community over the years. The recently announced transition at WMUB radio completes a 50-year tradition at Miami University in the field of educational radio, television, and technology that the university can be especially proud of.

In 1959, Miami was a major player in an innovative program, MPATI, that provided instructional television programs to area schools through collaboration with Purdue University. The K-12 video programs were “delivered” daily by TV broadcasts from a Douglas DC-6 (known as The Flying Classroom). Thousands of Ohio children were exposed to foreign language, advanced math, and science courses previously available only to the most wealthy school districts. This was one of the first examples of distance learning.

In 1968, Dr. Jack Neill led a collaborative effort with local school superintendents to form a nonprofit corporation at Miami called the Southwestern Ohio Instructional Television Association. SOITA expanded the work started by MPATI and involved hundreds more area schools. This could only have been accomplished with the full support of Miami University’s Channel 14, WMUB-TV, broadcasting locally to area schools. Several Miami professors were enlisted to share their expertise via locally produced video programs.

SOITA, headquartered on Miami’s Western campus, expanded its educational technology role in the 1980s by supporting area schools’ implementation of the first classroom microcomputers. Volume discounts on hardware and software gave thousands of children their first computing experience on an Apple IIe using such pioneering educational programs as “Oregon Trail” and “Number Munchers.” During those early computing years, SOITA distributed tens of thousands of licensed floppy disks to schools, and millions of dollars worth of Apple hardware was purchased and installed. Due to new statewide regional service guidelines, SOITA left Miami University in 2005 but continues to serve 300,000 K-12 students and 30,000 teachers in 20 Ohio counties from its headquarters in Franklin.

How unfortunate it would have been if the Miami leaders of yesterday had not supported the vision for the various programs that went far beyond the “core” mission and brought tremendous value to the schools and communities of southwest Ohio. Thousands of jobs, learning experiences, and groundbreaking programs were advanced due to the visionary leaders of Miami’s past. The powerful collaborations created among area schools, the university, state agencies, the private sector, and nonprofits served as a unique model. The outgrowth of what they started 50 years ago continues to be influential today in the greater Ohio educational community.

Dave Gibson
Liberty Township, Ohio

Dave retired from Miami in 2005 after 19 years as executive director of SOITA.

Greek life special

This is in response to the letter about discrimination among the Greeks that ran in the Fall 2008 Miamian.

It’s true and frankly it is a mirror of how we all live our lives. We select our friends based upon our tastes and style, and our friends pick us because of their tastes and style. It’s a two-way street and something of a matching process.

As for the Greek societies at Miami, they are all wonderful places for 100 strangers to meet and toil to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables while they study and learn how to care for each other — I’m told they also know how to have a good time.

Studies have shown that these are the key ingredients for the leaders of our society, and Greek life at Miami has been renowned for it since the mid-1840s. It rubs off onto the campus population at large and is responsible for that certain Miami je ne sais quoi that puts us way far ahead of non-Miami graduates in demand for hiring.

Recruiters often muse about certain Ivy League schools rearing graduates who don’t know how to get along with others. Miami is on the other end of the spectrum. Why? The Greeks. If you want to be a Greek, sign up and make something of your life. If not, for goodness’ sake, join something and let the camaraderie rub off on you. Learn how to work with others for a greater good. It’s far more important than you can imagine as a teenager considering whether to join.

My years on campus in my fraternity were something special. A bunch of us still get together each year for a big weekend of golf and fishing. Thanks to the Internet, we’re in constant touch with each other. One added note: We have a U.S. president who graduated from Miami. Was he a Greek? As a matter of fact, President Harrison was president of his chapter — Phi Delta Theta.

Tom McKnight ’70
President, Phi Delta Theta
Washington, D.C.

Frequently, Miamian publishes articles highlighting the accomplishments of Miami University’s Greek community. Recently, I was fortunate to receive mention in a great article written by Andy Resnik ’97 titled “Mother of Fraternities Milestone” in the Summer 2008 Miamian.

I was quoted in the article saying that it was “definitely cool to know you are a part of something that’s much bigger than yourself.” Looking back, “cool” might not have been the correct word to use. However, it is difficult to put what I have gained and experienced over my four years of fraternity membership into a single word, so I’ll stick with “cool” for now. For me, “cool” was living in a house for a year and a half that holds more than 75 years of memories and tradition within its walls. “Cool” was seeing my fraternity turn 100 years old, witnessing more than 800 of my brothers return to Miami to celebrate, and eating across the table from an 85-year-old gentleman who was just as proud as the day he joined. “Cool” is the notion of being a part of something so far above and beyond any one person or pledge class over the 175-year history of Greeks at Miami. It was not a character trait that helped me get a bid to a fraternity.

The number of Greek organizations on campus has fluctuated over the past few decades (currently around 50), providing a number of opportunities for students to not only find the fraternity or sorority that they fit in, but the fraternity or sorority that fits with them. In addition to Greeks, there are a multitude of other student groups on campus that utilize an interview process to gain membership. Unfortunately, some students only choose one organization to focus on without looking into other opportunities (in case their membership does not work out).

Just as every student group on campus has the right to interview potential members to ensure their credentials and personalities fit in with the organizational culture (“discriminate”), every student has the right to “discriminate” between student organizations. Further, just as voting is different between every student organization on campus, each fraternity and sorority has distinct voting procedures that range from 100 percent acceptance to a simple majority vote among members (established in bylaws that have been in existence for more than a hundred years).

When I rushed, I did not receive a bid to all fraternities I desired to be a part of at that time — largely because I did not fit in with the culture there. I had friends from high school in a few fraternities as well and, despite their vouching for me to their brothers as a good fit for their fraternity, I was not accepted. It wasn’t something to be taken personally; I just didn’t fit in there. Why would I ever want to dedicate my life to a cause that wasn’t dedicated to me? The same concept applied when I was looking for internships and jobs. Despite the fact that I met certain requirements on paper, there were companies that did not extend an offer to me simply due to the fact that I did not fit in with their culture. Again, not something to be taken personally.

Greek study halls are offered as optional in facilities that can be accessed by every student on Miami’s campus. Fraternities and sororities do not get any special keys to secret rooms, extended hours, or access to rent their professors for personal study sessions. Minimum GPA requirements to join fraternities and sororities translate into members that truly care about their grades and want to surround themselves with like-minded students. Hence the higher Greek GPA.

Finally, the $1 million university-managed endowment by Cliff Alexander ’56 in 2004 runs the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Leadership. While the funds are primarily directed toward developing the core principles of the Greek population, remember that Greeks currently comprise one-third of Miami’s campus. At the time of the endowment, Vice President for Student Affairs Richard Nault actually stated, “The gift is remarkable. … It will impact not only the almost 25 percent of our students who are members of fraternities and sororities, but the entire campus.”

After dedicating a majority of my four years at Miami to partaking in and giving back to the Greek life that has thrived there for 175 years, I believe wholeheartedly in the value that fraternities and sororities provide to college campuses.

Chris Burton ’08
Columbus, Ohio

AIMS continues the tradition

Regarding the article “AIMS Hits the Mark” by Vince Frieden (Fall 2008 Miamian), I’m going to bet you’ll hear from a number of business school alums — particularly those of us lucky enough to have participated in the Laws, Hall & Associates program with Dr. Maggard and Dr. Cox.

We are all proud and pleased at the success of AIMS and thrilled that Mike Armstrong ’61 has made such a generous gift to the program. However, AIMS is described in the article as a “groundbreaking concept” and considered “revolutionary because it ignores traditional departmental boundaries and encourages truly interdisciplinary, cross-campus collaboration.”

AIMS was not the first to do this. Laws, Hall & Associates combined business, communication, and graphic arts students in three competing teams for real customers — Goodyear, Wendy’s, Miami — for many years. It’s terrific to learn that this tradition goes on in AIMS and that more students are benefiting from the creative and “revolutionary” ideas born at Miami.

Wendy O’Neal ’80
Cincinnati, Ohio

Miami Family ties

Editor’s note: Nora Ellen Shera Bowers ’64 wrote this letter to Scott Pierce ’54 after reading “A fourth generation joins their Miami family.” It is reprinted here with permission.

I read with great excitement the article about the Pierce-Brix family in the Fall Miamian. It was a very nice article, and I was totally surprised about the four-generation affiliation with Miami.

My dad, Don Shera ’17, and your dad, Monk Pierce ’16, were best of friends at Miami. They were Betas together and had many other connections. Red Blaik ’18 was also a good friend and Beta brother, and he honored my dad by asking him to take his place at Miami’s first Hall of Fame induction, as his health prevented him from coming to the event.

My dad always told the story of himself, Monk, and Fred Climer going up to Akron to work on the first dirigibles at Goodyear after graduation. They did their stint in the Army at the end of World War I, then went their separate ways — Monk, of course, to New York to head McCall’s, Fred back to Akron to become an executive with Goodyear, and my dad, back to Oxford to help his dad run the Oxford National Bank. They maintained contact throughout the years, and I remember them gathering at our house after Miami home football games for many evenings of remembrance, singing, and good meals.

Our home was always full of wonderful stories of Monk and Chief Crawford, Fred Climer, and Red Blaik, and I treasure that history. My mother, Louisa Runyon Shera ’27, relayed all of this to Barbara [Former First Lady Barbara Bush is Monk’s daughter and Scott’s sister] when Barbara and George were in Oxford before his presidency.

Another exciting fact that I learned through the Miamian article was that your mom, Pauline Robinson Pierce, was an Oxford College graduate. I have been on the first board of directors of the Oxford Community Arts Center, which has successfully transformed Oxford College for Women into a thriving arts center in the Oxford community. My grandmother, too, was an Oxford College grad.

Thanks for sharing your story with Miamian and for carrying on the Miami tradition. It is a strong one! I wish your grandson, Pierce, the best as he ventures out into the world with a good education under his belt!

Nora Ellen Shera Bowers ’64
Oxford, Ohio

What a deal

I read with interest the article (“Our Common Bond,” Summer 2008 Miamian) and then the letter concerning fees (“Amazing tuition,” Fall 2008 Miamian). I remembered that after helping Bursar Jim Sturgeon ’52 MBA ’59 recycle old pay line files in the late 1960s, I found my old pay line receipt from my sophomore year, the fall of 1951.

I am enclosing a copy, which is more information than you ever wanted or needed, but thought you might be interested — $299 for room, board, and tuition. What a deal.

We lived in the Lodges and they weren’t plush, but we enjoyed every minute of it.

Bob Huebschman ’54
Internal Auditor at Miami, 1964-91
Hot Springs Village, Ark.

Send letters to:

Donna Boen, Miamian editor
208 Glos Center
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056-2480;;
or fax to 513-529-1950.

Include your name, class year, home address, and phone number. Letters are edited for space and clarity.


For more information

Contact Donna Boen '83 MTSC '96, editor of Miamian, at or 513-529-7592.


If you are not receiving Miamian, contact

Miamian, Miami University's alumni magazine, highlights alumni, student, faculty, and staff involvement with the University, updating readers on campus news and events, arts, sports, and alumni news. Miami's primary communication link with alumni and close friends of the University, the magazine sets out to inform and entertain while generating a sense of knowledge and involvement with Miami University. Miamian is published three times a year.