He's in Love With Eleanor Gould!

After reading Mavis Clark's article on the wonderful Miss Eleanor Gould, "Grammarian Extraordinaire," (itself a courageous grammatical undertaking!), I think I am in love! As one who has accepted a call to a career in which effective communication is a must, and who has always been engaged in a love affair with the English language and its correct usage (encouraged by Dr. Edward L. Long, Jr., formerly of Oberlin's department of religion, who insisted that our research papers be not merely correct, but "elegant"), it occurs to me that if I were so blessed by my Creator as to have Miss Gould living on one side of me and Tony Randall on the other, I would think that the kingdom had come in all its fullness! Thank you, OAM, for this excellent profile of one of the many quiet and humble souls in this world who really does make a difference; one who so marvelously typifies what it means to be a product of the "Oberlin experience."

Moline, Illinois

Nurse Practitioner Objects to Eigles' Conclusions

I was very excited to read Stephen Eigles' article "Medicine in China and the U.S.: Observations From an American Medical Student" in the Spring 1998 Oberlin Alumni Magazine. As we examine issues in the United States such as access to health care, incorporation of non-western practices in medicine, and prevention of disease, it is always interesting to learn how other countries address these problems. However, Eigles' conclusion from observing medical care in China is that in the U.S. we are "downgrading our standards for primary care by (handing) off more responsibilities to nurse practitioners."

As a family nurse practitioner with a bachelor's and master's degree in nursing, I would like to encourage Eigles to look at nurse practitioners as part of the entire team of professionals providing medical care in our society. Nurse practitioners are required to take a national certification exam and acquire state licensing. We have advanced clinical training focusing on diagnosing and treating common diseases. We are also trained at recognizing problems that need to be addressed by other members of the health care team. This includes doctors, social workers, health educators, physical therapists, nutritionists, clergy and massage therapists, among others.

In my role, providing medical care to low-income, inner-city patients, I consult with physicians and refer appropriate patients for care that goes beyond my training. I independently diagnose and treat patients with common diseases and manage patients with chronic illnesses such as HIV, hypertension, and diabetes, involving prescribing medications, diet and nutrition counseling, health promotion and disease prevention, and teaching patients and their families about their conditions.

There are numerous studies which indicate the quality of care nurse practitioners provide. In 1986, the federal Office of Technology Assessment found that nurse practitioners delivered primary care comparable or better to that of physicians. According to a 1994 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, physicians and nurse practitioners are indistinguishable in making primary care decisions, but nurses are more likely to provide counseling, health promotion, information about community resources, nutritional information and adapt medical regimens to a patient's preference, family situation, and environment.

To provide quality health care to all, a team approach must be used. I hope that, in Eigles' training, he can work with, learn from, and understand the role of nurse practitioners in providing primary care.

Takoma Park, Maryland

She Scans OAM for Generations of Family News

My ties to Oberlin go so far back that I go through each issue of the Alumni Magazine with care so that I will not miss mention of someone I may have known. My grandfather, John Bradshaw, was pastor of First Congregational Church there from 1900-1910. His daughter, my mother, Margaret Coffin Bradshaw McGee, lived in Oberlin and graduated from the College in 1915. I was a student there from the fall of 1935 through the spring of 1941. My eldest daughter, Margaret Judson Curtis Thompson, married there in 1962, and graduated in 1964. There are several items in the Spring 1998 issue I want to comment upon.

First, Steve Coburn's letter about apostrophes: GOOD!

Second, the article about Eleanor Gould Packard, "guardian of the language." As an English major I must have known her--but now appreciate her more. My own chief disgust in current usage is the phrase "different than," implying comparison, never stated, with some other characteristic.

Third, I consider as an overstatement the letter by Richard S. Dutton '35, concerned with "emasculating the Oberlin student body." In my opinion, what has changed the picture of the Oberlin student body is the use of the word "Obies." Obies? Are we Oriental sashes (obis)? Are we simply horrifyingly fat (obese)? I'll never like the term. Sorry!

Saegertown, Pennsylvania

Long-Lasting Liberalism Was Ingrained at Oberlin

I thoroughly enjoyed John Harvith's article about Stan Catlin '37, in the Spring Alumni Magazine; it brought back so many memories. I belonged to the American Student Union from 1937 to 1939, and was a member of the delegation to Washington to promote the National Youth Act.

I also enjoyed all the musical concerts, played in the Women's Band, and was one of the first females to major in psychology.

Although my activities since college have been limited because of an attack of polio and because of my role as the wife of a faculty member and a doctor, I have never lost interest in the liberalism that Oberlin represented to me.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Mustn't Compare Oberlin to Dow Jones!

While Steven Shapiro raises some interesting points, I believe he misses the bigger picture. First, to complain about Oberlin's alleged "staggering drop" in college rankings is an insult to the entire Oberlin community. As if Oberlin could be compared to the Dow Jones! Unlike a cheap stock, an Oberlin education does not trade up or down in value based on the whims of out-of-touch investors (or in this case U.S. News & World Report editors). This is just another example of knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Second, instead of wondering aloud about ratings and rankings, I urge Mr. Shapiro to embrace Oberlin for what it truly is: a unique experience in labor and learning. There is nothing competitive nor noncompetitive about such an education. In fact, it can be useful to be noncompetitive and to fall in ranking, as competition plays into the worst stereotypes of reactionary thinking. Some of the most gifted people of uniqueness who enriched my Oberlin experience had absolutely nothing competitive about them. How could Oberlin's education be labeled competitive or noncompetitive when many members of its community refuse to be described by those values? Any school whose alumni would, e.g., help fight social injustices of the Chiapas Indians rather than participate in a capitalist system of speculative bubbles, deserves better than getting raked over its ratings.

San Francisco, California

OAM Stirs Memories of the '30s and '40s

Recently I have been on an Oberlin Alumni Magazine reading binge--just devoured the last three, in fact. What nostalgia! Comments: one reader challenges your sensitivity in printing news about his achievements (favorable) without his approval. However, another alum makes a request for more class-oriented news--perhaps class reporters? I am ashamed to find a dearth of items from the '40s. There are still many of us around and active.

Thank you, Conna Bell Shaw, for your article, "Our Lady's Juggler." I have to admit, being a raw freshman then, that I was puzzled as to its significance, but realized the pageant was spellbinding.

As a poli-sci major, I was interested to read about the involvement of Professor Oscar Jaszi and President Wilkins in the awesome advent of World War II. As a member of the Peace Society, we hoped, naively, for a miracle to turn fascism's sword into ploughshares. Surely, the League of Nations could accomplish this? But, just in case, we took first aid courses, marched about the athletic field, and mounted bicycle brigades. The Plain Dealer even featured our activities in a separate photo feature. Pretty exciting stuff! It didn't take many months to realize the awful consequences of worldwide conflict.

On a personal note, I recall having written an indignant letter to the Alumni Magazine about the possible demolition of Peters Hall. Was that in the '60s? In the following issue an alumnus wrote an answering letter in which he chastised me for having the egotism to consider any part of the campus my own property. Of course the monstrosity should come down if it had outlived its usefulness! Well, Peters has remained an honorable pile, and my husband, Robert '41, and three of my progeny have experienced its sheltering walls, observatory, porch, and creaky floors.

Do I have the last word, or what?

Rochester, New York

Oberlin in the Forefront of Transgender Awareness

Thanks to this magazine as a networking tool, and the vision of Cara Wick, intern at Oberlin's Multicultural Resource Center, I am able to applaud Oberlin for being at the forefront of yet another profound social issue--that of gender. This goes so much deeper than the usual "battle of the sexes." I'm talking about "the best foreplay yet" to illuminate the sixth annual Drag Ball, biggest social event all year, attracting 80 percent of the student body.

Oberlin hosted the first-ever "Transgender Awareness Week" on any college campus, March 30-April 4, 1998. As the only "out" transgender alum (so far as we know), I was privileged to be a featured speaker, along with author Leslie Feinberg, during this breakthrough week. The students themselves invited this sincere investigation of what it is to be limited by the system of gender, and how we might begin to free ourselves from that system.

The students really "got" transgender, and were willing to explore their own potential for gender liberation. How many of you, reading this, are willing to do the same? I can promise you a rich and rewarding journey, if you do. Gender--the most profound division we suffer beyond being and non-being--is a catalyzing concept that can unleash our full potential as human beings.

As a "gender pioneer," my return to Oberlin was most gratifying and empowering. My recurring dreams about this place have been about new beginnings, and new possibilities. I'm delighted to report that this new generation is embracing gender issues in very significant ways. There will, of course, be more heartache before there is healing, but we are indeed beginning to break free of unnecessarily restrictive gender roles. I believe this is a fundamental imperative for human evolution.

Asheville, North Carolina

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