Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Library Procrastination

Regarding “Procrastination Nation” (spring ’16): Jane Burka ’68 published the definitive book, Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now, in 1980. As a former Clapp library employee, I can tell you that this book was widely read and almost always overdue.

Wilma Riemenschneider Kassakian ’68, Newton, Mass.

Lasting Wisdom

Six years ago, I Googled dozens of combinations of “philosophy professor,” “Wellesley College,” “1970–1973,” determined to find the woman who had given me the most lasting piece of wisdom from my years at Wellesley and write her a thank-you note. Within minutes I had her name, which I recognized immediately. Ingrid Stadler (“In Memoriam,” spring ’16).

Vivacious, worldly, brilliant, and backlit by the late afternoon windows soaring behind her, Professor Stadler spoke the words that have come to guide almost every endeavor of my life. Art, she would tell us, must be tempered with an element of ugliness. Without it, beauty is nothing but sentimentality. I knew I was hearing truth. This idea and her voice speaking it have informed my life in the most surprising ways, from my years as a playwright to working in room and garden design; from my eventual appreciation of contemporary art to my work now as Sparkleball Lady; even in my relationships. No doubt Professor Stadler lives on in my son’s career as an artist. When he once asked for a critique of one of his artworks, I told him Professor Stadler’s words. His eyes lit. “Yes!” he said.

Thank goodness, I was able to write that note. She replied in kind, with a most gracious response which I treasure. Thank you again, Professor Stadler, for truth, beauty, and ugliness.

Alex Finlayson ’73, San Diego, Calif.

Colorful Memories

I was so sorry to learn of Ingrid Stadler’s death. In the Wellesley of the mid-’60s, when the female faculty uniform was gray, gray, and more gray, Ingrid Stadler was a vibrantly elegant and lively presence in her red sweaters and Marimekko dresses. She not only thought deeply and incisively about aesthetics, but she and her husband lived with style and verve. One of her landmark birthdays was celebrated on a barge floating down the Charles with a chamber orchestra playing Handel’s Water Music. Although I majored in French, I went on to do my doctorate in philosophy, inspired in large part by Ingrid Stadler’s example of a fine mind at work. She will be missed.

Beverly Bardsley ’67, Austin, Texas

A Role Model

I was a philosophy major at Wellesley from 1971 to 1975 and took many courses with Ingrid Stadler; also there at the time were Ifeanyi Menkiti, Ruth Anna Putnam, and Ann Congleton ’58. It was a wonderful department, and Ingrid was enormously generous with her intellect, with her time, and personally very kind to me. She once said it seemed to her like I needed to get off campus, and allowed me to stay in her apartment for a few days when she was traveling. I also remember her having students to dinner. I spent a great deal of time in her office, the door to which was always open. She was in every way a role model, and I remember her with great respect and fondness.

Monica Dougherty Gray ’75, Larchmont, N.Y.

Early Programmers

Pioneering programmers: I guess I qualify as one (“Get With the Programming,” fall ’15). Based on an aptitude test, I was hired by Univac in 1959 as a system engineer. They trained me in punch-card equipment, machine language, and assembly language before days of COBOL, FORTRAN, BASIC, and others. I was assigned with a salesman to design systems for an accounting firm, the Holland American line, and a brokerage firm. After working in New York City and Los Angeles, I moved to Tucson, Ariz., as a bride. My first job there was with Horizon Land development company when it was transferring its manual system to its first computer, RCA 301. After that, I worked for University of Arizona, Hughes Aircraft, and when Pima Community College opened in 1970, I was one of the first three faculty hired in the new computer-science program. I taught there until retirement.

Shirley Shen Chann ’58, Tucson, Ariz.

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