Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 2.
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Pomona College Magazine is published three times a year by Pomona College
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Editor: Mark Wood
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Sagehens Sound off

Weighing In on the Weigh-In
Helen Hutchison’s article (Winter 2005 PCM) was both frightening and inspiring. I’d heard of that infamous tradition, but thought it was something that ended in the 1940s or 1950s. I had no idea it continued into the 1970s! Ms. Hutchison ’74 proved once again that a single person can make a difference. Brava to her for standing up for what is right. That’s a lesson we constantly need to relearn.
—Charles Finn ’85
Oceanside, Calif.

Dean Jean
Thank you so much for Helen Hutchison’s “End of the Weigh-In!” Dean Jean—Dean of Students Jean Walton—was always a hero to me for many things, but especially for getting rid of that horrid tradition. I hadn’t known of Helen’s role but was glad to read about it. I still remember vividly what a trauma it was to be greeted with the weigh-in on my first day at Pomona. The only good thing about it: It served as just one of many radicalizing experiences that have helped me to stand up for myself more than I ever did before college. Thanks, Helen!
—Vicki Black Webster ’74
Moab, Utah

Compelling Photo
Bravo to Helen Hutchison ’74 for shutting down the deplorable tradition of measuring and weighing incoming freshman girls. The photograph of a frightened, humiliated young woman that accompanied “End of the Weigh-In” (Winter 2005 PCM) is the most compelling image in my 1954 Metate—a full page, no less. I have run across it dozens of times and always with anger, disgust and a strong sense of self-reproach. Why didn’t we do the job 20 years earlier, why let that barbaric custom continue unchallenged? Many of us were appalled. Short-circuiting it would have been child’s play. I suppose, in those grey days of McCarthyist conformity, that was just one more thing we accepted without thinking about it. I hope, now at least, that some of the grinning, well-groomed, well-brought-up young men who perpetrated this outrage for decades blush with shame at their role. In the end they demeaned themselves far more than they did the innocent targets of their nasty little bit of fun.
—Laurence McGilvery ’54
La Jolla, Calif.

To Mozart
Many Pomona alumni who are celebrating Mozart’s 250th birthday will remember Professor Daryl Dayton, a great admirer of that composer. I once heard him tell a large music appreciation class, “Please don’t talk when you’re listening to Mozart!” In December 1955, as the 200th birthday approached, I visited with him at the student-faculty dinner held in Frary Dining Hall on the Sunday before Christmas vacation. He was about to go to Greece as a Fulbright exchange teacher. He said, “I will be at sea on Mozart’s birthday, and I expect the sun to rise with a special brilliance!”
—Lawrence Crumb ’58
Eugene, Ore.

Go Sagehens!
I just wanted to write a quick note to say how great it was to read about athletics in the latest issue of Pomona College Magazine (Winter 2005). I know I speak for many other alumni in saying that it’s nice to see the college embracing its athletic tradition! Sports were a big part of my experience at Pomona, and I think that they are a perfect way to bring the college community closer. A couple of us—young DC Pomona alums—were talking about what we thought really separated us from the Amhersts and the Williamses, and athletics was a major difference. I’m going to take the magazine to Spring Training this year to show to all the other Giants guys who ask what or where Pomona is. “Yes, guys, we have sports, and yes, we’re good…”
—Adam Gardner ’04
Washington, D.C.

Old Obits
Obituary sections of alumni magazines exert a complex appeal. Announcements published years after the date of death seem especially mysterious. In PCM Winter 2005, there are 58 (alumni) deaths remembered. Ten of these occurred before 2005 (1991–2004). Notably, four of six deaths from the classes of the 1920s had notices delayed from two to 14 years. The abstract became poignant with the notation that my classmate Thomas C. Hoff ’61 had died in 1999. It is unsettling to realize that we entered a class reunion year without knowing that a fellow classmate had died before our previous reunion.

Tom, Richard Lancefield ’61 and I entered Pomona as junior transfers from Ivy League schools. Don Spurgeon ’62 had demonstrated his cleverness by moving West a year earlier. In the manner typical of converts, we were enthusiastic Sagehens. Tom parlayed his hobby of model railroading into a career with big trains. How many others have been able to develop their hobbies into occupations? I suspect we should not include those who played doctor with their childhood friends.
—Chris Duecker ’61
Atherton, Calif.

Editor’s Note: Our apologies for the dated death notices. We report deaths as soon we learn of them, which is sometimes years after the fact.

Sagehen Quiz
I thoroughly enjoyed the Winter (PCM) edition describing sports at Pomona. While the number “47” is precious, I thought of another statistic that might be included in the “The Great Sagehen Sports Quiz.” How many Pomona students have participated in the Olympics? In our class, Marilyn Ramenofsky ’69, swam in the Rome Olympics (1964). Are there others?
—Thomas W. Hauch ’68
Charlotte, N.C.

We welcome letters from alumni and friends. Letters may be edited for length, style and clarity. See our full list of magazine policies about letters to the editor.
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by Pomona College
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