Correction on Chapel Attendance

I found the spring 2018 Lafayette “Finding Faith” article to be most encouraging in that youth of today are searching for answers to their individual inclinations with less attention to the traditions in which they may earlier have been indoctrinated. 

But the statement: “Until the mid-1960s, the College required attendance at Presbyterian church services in Colton Chapel every Sunday morning ….”  I think to not be accurate.  As a student from 1956 to 1960 such a requirement was not imposed on us.  It does, however, recall the song I remember learning as an incoming freshman, a part of which included the verse:

                Each morn’ to chapel we must caper

                No matter if it rain or snow

                But the faculty don’t go–for they’re good enough you know

                So they stay at home and read the morning paper

Of course, that obligation also was not imposed on us in 1956; I am curious as to when the requirement was suspended.



There is an interesting error in Bill Landauer’s article in the spring 2018 Lafayette. He writes: “Until the mid-1960s, the College required attendance at Presbyterian church services in Colton Chapel every Sunday morning—regardless of religious affiliation.” Wow. Had that been the case, students and parents would have been up in arms. Baptists couldn’t go to Baptist services, Methodists to Methodist services? Catholics to Mass? Everyone had to worship Presbyterian?

Of course, that wasn’t actually the case. Mr. Landauer is correct that chapel was compulsory in that era, but that rule had nothing to do with Sunday morning services. Chapel was a weekday event. The requirement was strict—each student had an assigned seat and attendance was noted. In my memory, the services were more generically Protestant than specifically Presbyterian, but they were conducted by the college chaplain, a Presbyterian minister.



I enjoyed the article “Finding Faith” by Bill Landauer in the spring 2018 issue, which I found very interesting and informative. However, I do want to correct an egregious error. The section on Colton Chapel contains the statement, “Until the mid-1960s, the College required attendance at Presbyterian services every Sunday morning—regardless of religious affiliation.” This is incorrect. I was at Lafayette from 1953 to 1957 and can state categorically that there was no such requirement. There was a weekly convocation in Colton Chapel (held at noon on Wednesdays as I recall) that featured visiting speakers who generally spoke on secular topics. For example, I remember Robert Frost’s daughter lecturing on her father’s poetry on one such occasion. 

I also have a distinct recollection that students of other faiths, including Catholics and Jews, had ample opportunities for worship on campus during my time there. My roommate in my freshman year was Catholic, and I recall him attending these services. 

You have an excellent publication that is a credit to the College. Keep up the good work!


Pleased About ROTC

I was delighted to read your (Bryan Hay) piece regarding ROTC at Lafayette in the spring 2018 issue and trust that you are now fully recovered from the ruck march. I was pleased to learn that we have 12 cadets enrolled.  I am a product of Lafayette’s ROTC program and remained in the Army for more than 35 years, retiring in 2006, and believe that I may be the highest-ranking product of our program. I continue my relationship with ROTC in my role as director of the Patriots Program at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio. 

Thank you for the positive reporting on this aspect of the Lafayette experience.


The “A” in STEAM

Two comments:
First, for Ms. Neitz (“Superheroes of STEM”): I think you construed the “A” part of STEAM too narrowly, as the original intent of the concept, as I understand it, was to include “the arts,” not narrowly, “art.” I personally see a great need for knowledge and appreciation of “history” in the education of technical folks, be it the history of science, of policy as it relates to technology, or even of specific corporate history for those tech types to aspire to—or just end up in—management/leadership positions. I’ll use my own experience of being taught the history of my organization—the Kaiser-Permanente Health Care Program—when I became a partner. That knowledge permitted me to be a much more informed contributor to the advancement of the ideals and success of the organization.

For Mr. Hay (“HUZZAH! ROTC at Lafayette Hits Stride…”): Congratulations on this article. As a Vietnam era Navy veteran (and an ROTC band member at Lafayette), I am well aware that one of the reactions to that war was a general eschewing of things military in the academic world—from closing ROTC programs to virtually eliminating military history and other military-related items from curricula. I’m happy to see what I view as a necessary return of respect for, and interest in, things military to college campuses. Your article is a nicely executed “human interest” take on the ROTC program that Lafayette participates in. One can hope that in some future day, ROTC will actually find a physical home on the Lafayette campus—perhaps even Navy ROTC!

Captain, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Digital Spring Cleaning

Loved the article by Lisa Grant ’87 (“Digital Spring Cleaning”)! What a fun way to keep up with all the great things classmates are doing.


More Sustainable Mailing

How ironic that the story of the Rockwell Integrated Science Center’s “green” features came mailed in a plastic envelope with a separate sheet of paper for each recipient’s address. We have to do better than this.