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Carnegie Mellon Magazine

First job paid $95 a month

[Re Tuition increases, News, summer]: How times have changed! I graduated with a degree in nursing. This followed a five-year course of study. I lived in Whitfield and Cedar halls and West Penn Hospital. Room and board was $350 a semester. The cost of courses totaled $160 a semester. My father gave me $5 a week allowance. I had everything I needed. My father told me that my five-year course had cost him about $5,000. Of course, that was during the Depression years. Today the same field of study would cost more than $100,000.

My first [job] as a nursing instructor paid $95 a month but did include room and board. Today, I would earn more than that working in a fast-food emporium. That's progress.

Virginia Wade Schalles MM'41
Hollidaysburg, Pa.

About Erin Brady's percentage

It was nice to read about Erin Brady setting a new free throw record (News, summer). I read that "she set a new season record with a .842 free throw percentage. Brady made 48 of 57 free throw shots." The math that I learned at Carnegie Institute of Technology tells me that Brady's percentage was 84.2105. If Brady actually had a percentage of .842 she would have been arm-weary from shooting 5700 times. I expected better from Carnegie Mellon, which is noted for its math excellence.

Jack Carlson E'47
Beavercreek, Ohio

Mathematical Sciences Head James Greenberg agrees with you. He says the percent of free throws is 100 x 48/57 = 84.2105 percent. The fraction of free throws made is 48/57 = .842105.

Why isn't Nash in the '48 Thistle?

I enjoy Carnegie Mellon Magazine very much and find most articles informative and interesting. The summer issue (News) article on John F. Nash indicated he was part of the Class of '48. I was pleased to learn I was a classmate of this distinguished individual. However, I was unable to find evidence of his being in the Class of '48 in the Thistle yearbook. Could it be that he was camera shy?

Thomas E. Burns E'48
Walnut Creek, Calif.

John Nash's picture does not appear in the 1948 yearbook, though he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics on June 27, 1948.—Editor

Great tribute to great man

Bravo [for item on "A Beautiful Mind" about John Nash (E'48), News, summer]! Well written, on a great movie.

About the pens: Some things are symbols, icons, expressions of even deeper, more meaningful events. I don't get caught doubting the thing that is meant even though the form in which it is conveyed is suspect.

John Nash was from our area. I loved the movie, watched three times. It conveyed many delicate elements in all our lives. Perhaps I, like others, may be a little abrupt with those around me. It was great how his wife came into his life and reached beyond his exterior to protect, guide and encourage the little boy within.

The movie may not be fact, but [it] parallels a confused life and is a great tribute to a great man. I was most touched by his acceptance speech at the Nobel ceremony in 1994 [about finding reason in love rather than in equations and logic]. Thanks for your kind words on this great man and sensitive movie.

Ted Elden A'71
Charleston, W.Va.

Drugs, myths compound illness

The movie "A Beautiful Mind" about John Nash may have won honors but [contains] a very misleading inaccuracy. The Nash [character] states that he is on new and improved psychiatric drugs. However, the real Nash says he hasn't been on psychiatric drugs since 1970.

In my senior year I ended up a patient at Western Psychiatric Institute. I was forced to take very heavy doses of Thorazine. After 10 months I was released, still on the drug. Luckily, my psychiatrist helped me get off of it. I haven't taken psychiatric drugs since September 1968, nor been a patient of a psychiatrist since August 1969.

I graduated. I've been married almost 33 years and raised two children. Since 1978 I have taken the lead on mental health issues in the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities, a social change/leadership network in 93 countries. I have been the International Liberation Reference Person for Mental Health Liberation in the RC Communities. I got my master's degree from Penn State and received the Award for Distinguished Service in Community Psychology from the same institution. I cofounded and codirected Support Coalition International, 100 groups in 11 countries, working against psychiatric oppression and for alternatives.

Mental patients can fully recover. Many of us don't "fight daily to come to terms with [our] disease," as you put it. We are just like everyone else, not different, unusual or requiring "sympathy for the tremendous obstacles" in our lives.

Another myth we fight is the idea that those of us who "made it" out of the mental health system must have been "misdiagnosed."

World Health Organization studies show that mental patients in poorer countries, where the system gives out far fewer psychiatric drugs, recover far more quickly, on average, than mental patients in the U.S.A.

Janet Braunstein Foner A'68
New Cumberland, Pa.

Dean Midani's help recalled

[Re Obituary for Akram Midani, summer]: I benefited greatly from Dean Midani's support and direction in the completion of my doctoral dissertation. Along with Daniel Resnick and the late Ludwig Schaefer, Dean Midani served on my dissertation committee. The dissertation was entitled "Documentary Drama: The Neglected Historical Resource." Dean Midani came to my rescue in the prospectus defense phase of its completion when another faculty member, not a member of the committee, dismissed the concept of studying plays in order to understand a period of history. As a graduate student trying to defend not only the research but the concept, I found myself dead in the water until Dean Midani, addressing the skeptical faculty member, said, "You asked Tom a question; he answered it. You may not agree with him, but I do. So let's move on." I passed the defense and completed the work, but I always remember his simple and direct assistance that saved this graduate student from crashing and burning! He was a great and good man. R.I.P.

Tom Croak HS'78
Chicago, Ill.

Tom Croak is an associate professor of history at DePaul University.

About that lame response

I congratulate Jake Boomhouwer (E'68) on his letter (summer) concerning the sidebar story "War Sparks Activism on Campus" (spring). It is "right on." However, the lame response (a pro-peace rally, not an anti-war rally) indicates the editor's failure to grasp the significance of what is going on in the world today.

E.G. Meyer E'40, '42
Laramie, Wyo.

Yes, "pro-peace rally vs. anti-war rally" is a fine distinction. The marching students made it, not the editor.—Editor

Illustrator's other life

Re Books & Music, summer, "Laugh the Blues Away: A Bluefish Cookbook" by Ted Fenton with drawings by Susan Rotolo: Not mentioned is that Susan Rotolo, nee Suze Rotolo, is the woman pictured with Bob Dylan on the jacket of his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

Joseph Daniel Fiedler A'79
Ranchos de Taos, N.M.

Apparently, Susan Rotolo, who met Dylan when he was 19 and she was 17, inspired a number of his tunes, including "Boots of Spanish Leather," "Ballad in Plain D," "Down the Highway" and others. She teaches at Parsons School of Design and spends summers at Cape Cod, where she met the Fentons.—Editor

Zine site looks great

The Web Carnegie Mellon Magazine [www.cmu.edu/magazine] looks great! Will you be posting past issues this way?

Rev. Scott Ellis A'70
Gainesville, Fla.

No plans yet to post past issues.—Editor

Tougher times in 1930s mills

After spending my whole life in the steel industry, I have to take a different [view] than the Edgewater Steel employee in "What Can Students Learn from a Pittsburgh Steelworker?" (summer). That steelworker should go back another 30 years and perhaps feel lucky. For most steel plant workers from 1931 till 1942, except a sprint in 1938, a vacation or going out to eat twice a week were beyond consideration. Just to feed and support the family required skill and effort.

In some of those years the steel industry ran at less than 30 percent of capacity. Baldwin Locomotive made one locomotive in 1932. If they got the order, usually eight tires, it meant perhaps 20 minutes of work for Edgewater, Oakmont. The Schoen Wheel Works of Carnegie Steel Company's hot mill averaged about a day a week of work in 1932-1933. I had plenty of unpaid vacation time, and at that time no fringe benefits except "discounted" life insurance. I left (then Carnegie-Illinois) in 1938.

Rearmament and World War II opened jobs to Carnegie Tech metallurgical graduates in the range of $120-150 a month. Carnegie-Illinois was then paying 621/2 cents an hour for welders, up from 481/2 cents an hour when I started working the 11 to 7 a.m. shift while I attended Tech.

In retrospect, possibly Edgewater and the majority of the U.S. steel industry—with CIO/USW wages, six- or seven-figure upper-level salaries and huge benefits for both groups of employees—have made the U.S. non-competitive in the worldwide industry. Has the Pittsburgh steelworker priced himself out of the competitive world market?

I haven't been in any European steel plants for some 15 years. Possibly by now there will be 15 employees' bicycles hanging on hooks for each employee automobile parking space. A somewhat more recent experience in South America indicates that many plants have a bus service that picks up and discharges employees at various locations. No second cars at home for these employees.

Dan A. Sutch E'38
Charleston, S.C.

Magazine all wet on concrete

Re precast concrete as a mix poured into a mold and dried ["Fallen Stones Spur Restoration," spring]: At Pitt, where I earned an engineering degree, we cure rather than "dry" concrete. This process involves water. Cement-based concrete is a mix of aggregate-commonly sand and crushed stone or graded riverstone, portland cement (a powder manufactured from fired limestone and additives) and water mixed at near room temperature.

The portland cement combines with the water to form a gel, a process that takes several weeks and actually releases some heat. Although the concrete visually seems to dry, it actually needs to be kept wet for one or more weeks to reach optimum strength. Color additives and texture can imitate other materials successfully. Precast is formed in a mold rather than formed in the final position. My point: Concrete is cured, not dried.

Ben Brugmans

 Features, Fall 2002

   • Off-campus Ventures
     Courses Take Students Into
     Community Service

   • East Meets West
     Tongue Tells Health Tales

   • Speak softly, carry a giant carrot
     President Jared Cohon Favors
     Persuasion over Issuing

   • Led by Larry Cartwright
     Real-World Course Leaps into
     Muck of Construction

 News, Fall 2002

   • Homeland Security Director
     Tom Ridge addresses graduates

   • Cancer research project launched

   • Melissa Martin scores
     with first film

   • Joe Manganiello Bullies

   • Blowing our own horn

   • Greenhouse grows

   • Higher education turns to wind

   • Lobster Boy William
     Kofmehl scuttles housing project

   • Faculty, students honored

   • Astronaut speaks at Homecoming

   • Doctoral programs ranked

   • Faculty retire

   • Carroll Gantz, inventor of the
     Dustbuster, is back to boats

 Mail, Fall 2002

   • First job paid $95 a month

   • About Erin Brady's percentage

   • Why isn't Nash in the '48

   • Great tribute to great man

   • Drugs, myths compound illness

   • Dean Midani's help recalled

   • About that lame response

   • Illustrator's other life

   • Zine site looks great

   • Tougher times in 1930s mills

   • Magazine all wet on concrete

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