Behind the Headlines
by Betsy Holmquist
"Beyond all expectations," said one listener of the Alumni Association's new lecture series, "Behind the Headlines." "Informative, energizing, passionate," said another. "It brought the news to life."
Indeed in the first-ever Community Lecture Series in February, Missoulians explored historical and modern perspectives on contemporary world issues.
The idea for the series came from UM friends and Missoulians Kitte Robins and Ann Boone. Last fall they approached Alumni Director Bill Johnston about sponsoring a classroom experience for the community. When three award-winning history professors-Paul Lauren, Richard Drake and Mehrdad Kia-agreed to present the lectures, alumni intern Kelly Murphy went to work putting the project together. By the end of the first week of publicity, all 150 seats in the classroom were reserved. At $15 per person for the entire series, it was "the greatest bargain in town" as one attendee remarked.
Regents Professor Paul Lauren presented the first two lectures. Lauren presented the historical dilemma of international human rights versus national sovereignty, as ethnic cleansing in Albania worsened halfway across the globe. Lauren has taught at the University for twenty-five years. An international authority on human rights, he has lectured before the Smithsonian Institution and the United Nations. His latest book, The Evolution of International Human Rights, recently has been published.
Professor Richard Drake discussed his specialty, terrorism, in the next two lectures. Drake began teaching at UM in 1982 and recently received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to continue working on his fourth book during the 1999-2000 academic year. Using literature and art, he presented theories of why people commit and justify terrorism. At one point audience members were examining the length of their ear lobes-a short-lived biological theory to identify possible terrorists.
Associate Professor Mehrdad Kia presented the final two lectures. Kia, now in his tenth year at UM, was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year in 1997 and this May received the Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award. His passionate depictions of the history and conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and throughout Islamic civilization included discussions of immigration, linguistics, religions and cultures. A native of Tehran, Iran, Kia dispelled stereotypes and taught a new awareness and respect for the people and history of the Middle East.
Lecture series participants may never listen to TV news broadcasts the same. A more critical and wiser group of Missoulians exited the Gallagher Business Building after the final lecture. By then bombs had begun falling on Kosovo, and series participants better understood why. They knew the sovereignty versus human rights issues at stake. They knew the historical, linguistic, geographical and moral issues at play. They had been taken "behind the headlines" and taught big-picture truths. Their enthusiasm was mirrored repeatedly in the listeners' evaluations: "A privilege to be exposed to their knowledge," someone wrote. "This should be a required course for everybody," wrote another. " A gift to the community," added a third.
The Alumni Association is planning for next year's series already. Suggested topics run the gamut from biogenetics to birds, from world religions to jazz, from art history to the Holocaust. The audience is there, and the University has incredible professors to present their specialties. The only dilemma is how large a room to select for all the people who will want to attend.
If you are interested in next year's series, please contact the Alumni Association at 243-5211 or (800) 862-5862 for more information. This year's complete lecture series is available on audio tape from the Alumni Association. The lectures also will be featured on KUFM in the fall.
Sleepless in Bethesda
by Bill Johnston
I tossed and turned all night, worrying that I would sleep through the alarm, worrying about what I would say, wishing I hadn't stayed in Bethesda, Maryland, wishing that I'd taken a room in downtown Washington, D.C., only minutes from my morning appointment. In the city for a meeting, I had called weeks earlier to schedule a 10:30 a.m. appointment with former Senator Mike Mansfield. In just a few hours I would meet this man of international reputation, this same man who counseled presidents, and who is one of our University's most famous alumni.
I woke in time, got into the city, found his office building, and walked in and out of the lobby checking and rechecking the directory so many times I attracted the attention of the security officer. Finally at 10:00 I took the elevator to his office. At 10:15 Mansfield crossed through the lobby and said "hi" to me. Seconds later his secretary ushered me into his office. Immediately the senator made me feel comfortable by making us coffee and serving it himself. We talked about Missoula, the University, my hometown of Libby, and Grizzly football. All too soon gentle taps on the door signaled my time was over. He continued to visit. The secretary returned to tap on the door at five-minute intervals. I kept waiting for a clue to leave. He continued visiting. Finally it really was time to leave. We talked a bit more, and then I left. That November meeting in 1997 is now a cherished memory.
I am reminded of Mike '33, M.A. '34, and Maureen Hayes Mansfield '34, frequently these days. In March they celebrated their birthdays. The University and the State of Montana are planning tributes to the Mansfields. Bronze statues on campus and in the Capitol Building soon will remind generations of students, Montanans and visitors that we are where we are today because of Mike and Maureen, two very distinguished people, and two outstanding alumni of The University of Montana.
Jason Settee '99, Clarke Lamont '65, Dave Dickenson '96, Doug Lamont '93, and Paige Comis '64 enjoy their moment with the 1998 Canadian Football League Grey Cup won in November by the Calgary Stampeders. Dave Dickenson, who is starting quarterback for the 1999 Stampeders, stopped by Western Refrigeration in Calgary, owned by Clarke and Pat McCallum Lamont '65, the day he received the trophy. Each Stampeder gets the Grey Cup for one day to share with family, friends, and fans. UM football fans remember Dave's years at UM, where he led the Grizzlies to their 1995 national championship.
Keep in Touch:
UM alumni who wish to keep in touch with classmates via e-mail may leave a calling card at The University of Montana Alumni Association's Web site: http://www.umt.edu/alumni. Scroll down to the "Keep in Touch" option and click on "Alumni e-mail directory." Those who have already submitted an address are listed alphabetically and by class year. Alumni may add an address by following the posted directions.
Charter Day 1999
by Betsy Holmquist
"Surprise, surprise, surprise . . ." Joan Watts Datsopoulos '66 said as she accepted her Montana Alumni Award at The University of Montana's Charter Day awards ceremony on February 18, 1999, the day UM celebrated its 106th birthday. In an open letter to Maurine Clow, the former dean of women at the University who ruled with an iron hand from 1946 to 1973, Joan referred to herself as the "miscreant" who "spent a lot of time in your office during my college years trying to justify my tendency to ignore your rules.
"Perhaps I have you to thank," she continued, "for grounding me so often that I had plenty of time to ponder life's various quandaries and complexities."
The Alumni Association has Dean Clow to thank as well in choosing Joan to receive its Charter Day award. Joan has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors as a three-year member and president, and she was an active member of UMAA's House of Delegates. She co-chaired the UM Capital Campaign gala auction and served as president of the School of Fine Arts advisory committee. Instrumental in the collaboration of the Alumni Association and the Museum of Fine Arts, Joan helped produce calendars featuring art from UM's permanent collection. A constant advocate for UM and all its programs, Joan concluded her letter to Dean Clow by reassuring her, with nods from the audience that, "even though I'm not particularly regretful of my sins as a student, I have become a somewhat upstanding citizen."
Along with music from the Men's Chorus, Charter Day awards were presented to former business school Dean Paul B. Blomgren, Ernie B. Corrick '48, Professor Robert L. Deaton, andAmie Thurber '99. (See p.18 for a related story.)
There was birthday cake throughout the day. President and Mrs. Dennison served cake and the New Jubes sang that afternoon in the University Center to celebrate the University's birthday and the UC's 30th anniversary. That evening alumni served cake at the Montana-Sacramento State basketball game, the Montana Repertory Theatre, and the Native American Lecture.
July 14-22 Alumni International Travel-Village Life in England's Cotswolds 17 Alumni Gathering-Boston 18-31 Alumni International Travel-Main/Danube Canal August 13 Golf Tournament-Denver 30-9/7 Alumni Campus Abroad-Holland September 7-20 Alumni International Travel-Côtes du Rhône 8-17 Alumni Campus Abroad-Greece 19 Griz-Cat Golf Tournament/Barbecue-Lewistown October 2 Tailgate-Portland (Portland State University) 7-8 House of Delegates annual meeting 8-9 Homecoming: 1959 class reunion 9 Homecoming Parade, Football (Cal State Northridge) 10-11 UMAA Board of Directors meeting 16 Tailgate-Flagstaff (Northern Arizona University) 30 Tailgate-Pocatello (Idaho State University) November 6 Tailgate-San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) 15-23 Alumni Campus Abroad-Spain 19 Alumni Gathering-Livingston 20 Griz-Cat Football Game (Bozeman), satellite parties For more information on these events, call the UM Alumni Association at (800) 862-5862.
The University of Montana Alumni Association Board of Directors has established a UM scholarship fund for the children and grandchildren of UM alumni. Donations in any amount may be made in honor of special friends, family members, events, or in memory of loved ones. Please send your donations to The University of Montana Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, Brantly Hall, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812-0013.