I may be biased because I work in the not-for-profit sector and am always sensitive to the needs of underserved communities, but I wanted to congratulate you on what I find to be the strongest issue of Lafayette Magazine in my memory [Summer 2010]. I particularly applaud the story on the Landis Center and the decision to print Father Tom Hagan’s inspiring commencement speech.
Thank you very much for your wonderful work! I hope you keep up the focus on community service.
— Lisa Lacroce Patterson ’86
THE REAL HEROES
I always read my Lafayette Magazine from cover to cover and marvel at the amazing things students are doing. When I recall my time at Lafayette as a commuter from P’burg, it is difficult to relate to today’s activity. As a BSME student, I had no electives until the third year, and then only one per semester from a limited list. And as far as a class or a semester overseas, that was as remote an idea as visiting the moon (which didn’t happen until 1969). But I graduated with a really good engineering base.
But as I read the most recent issue [Summer 2010], I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that I seldom, if ever, see a story about someone who plans to go into a field where production occurs, where value is added, and people earn money to support all of the others who elected to do service work.
I am a conservative old man and I try to allow for that, but somewhere in the country people must produce goods that other people want to buy. Otherwise, there is no generation of money, and no one can support the good service work that these students and many others want to do. Service work, disaster repair, and “green” works are badly needed, and I contribute more than my fair share to all of them. But I think sometimes that the real heroes are the “grinds” who produce the products that earn the money that allow the fine service work to be done.
For all those alumni like myself, perhaps an occasional story about a student or alum who has done “regular” work and enhanced the productivity of our nation would help us to feel less useless by comparison.
— John H. (Jack) Vanderbilt ’51
We welcome your letters.
Easton, PA 18042
Letters may be edited for length and clarity.