Emeritus Faculty Association news August - September 2010

Next Meeting:
Friday September 3rd, usual time 10.30 am., but note the different location - 201 Wang center.
Peter Williams, Vice Dean, School of Medicine, Professor of Bioethics and Philosophy, will speak on "Why Americans don't deserve health insurance... or even health care."
Bio: Peter obtained his PhD in philosophy at Harvard in 1973 and moved to Stony Brook to begin working both in the department of philosophy and the interdisciplinary program in the medical school that has now become the Division of Medicine in Society in the Department of Preventive Medicine. His classroom work in the former has been in ethics, philosophy of law, and the teaching practicum - helping philosophy graduate students hone their pedagogical skills. His appointment at the medical school has allowed him to teach ethics and law to students and practitioners in the health care fields represented here and, in the 1980s, to organize and chair the hospital ethics committee on which he still serves. Peter has come to play an active role in curricular reform at the medical school through his appointment in 2000 as Vice Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs. All of the offices related to medical education report to the Vice Dean - the Associate Deans for Admissions, Student Affairs, Medical Education, Curricular, Academic and Faculty Affairs. The position has allowed him to nurture his interests in educational methodology and team development while maintaining close contact with undergraduate medical students. Peter's writing and research have focused on social and ethical issues in medicine, with a special interest in malpractice reform and moral reasoning. As one of the early entrants to the now well-established field of medical ethics, he helped form and has held offices in various professional organizations dedicated to the interface of humanities and health care. In the past decade Peter's research attention has turned to education and the impact of medical education on character and creativity.

Dr. Gerhard Vasco, a preeminent librarian and Stony Brook's first Head of Collection Development died on April 20 in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He was 95 years old. Gerhard Vasco created and developed all the collections in the Humanities and Social Sciences when the University moved to Stony Brook campus in the early 60s. His formula was so concise, cogent and visionary that it is still used today. Gerhard was born in Germany, and, Jewish, was able early enough nevertheless to flee his native country to take refuge first in France then in Latin America. Moving ultimately to the United States, he received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University in 1969 with a dissertation entitled "Diderot and Goethe; The Humanist as Scientist", later published (Geneva: Slatkine, 1978). When he retired Gerhard was honored with a plaque in the Philosophy department's Solzberg Library. A man of impeccable integrity and grace, his additional characteristics of timidity and modesty belied talents that might have brought him, under other circumstances, well beyond collection development. Without Gerhard Vasco's seminal vision Stony Brook libraries would not have achieved the unprecedented level of excellence it enjoyed in the 70s and 80s.
(Helene Volat)
Bob Nathans died on April 27, 2010 in N. Bethesda, MD. He is survived by his sister, Emma, his five children, Mark, Leah, Jessie, Sam and Amy, and his nine grandchildren, Reilly, Grace, Sarah-Jennie, Yonah, Sam, Zev, Max, Simon and Levi. Barbara Lange Nathans, his wife of 55 years, died in 2006. Nathans received his Ph.D. in Physics, University of Pennsylvania in 1954 and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Osaka, Japan in 1958. From 1959-1968, he was a Senior Scientist in Neutron Physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1970, he founded the W. Averill Harriman College at SUNY Stony Brook, where he was a professor of physics. Donations may be made to the Walnut Street YMCA c/o YMCA of Delaware Development Office, 100 W. 10th Street, Suite 1100, Wilmington, DE. 19801. A memorial service will be held in the fall.
Bob Lefferts died on May 19 (see emailed message 5-27-10 from President Stanley to the campus community, which includes a bio). Although not a regular attendee of our meetings some of us knew him and his photographic art work which he had pursued since his retirement from the School of Social Welfare. Some of this may be viewed at http://www.bobleffertsphotography.com
Ilona Ellinger, one of our oldest members, died on May 31 in her home in Stony Brook. A memorial service is to be announced.
Obituaries of the last two may be read at: http://www.northshoreoflongisland.com/Site.Obituaries.html).
Tom Angress: A former and long-time member of the department, Professor Werner T. (Tom) Angress died on July 5th in Berlin, the city in which he was born, from which he was driven in 1938, and to which he retired about twenty years ago. He had just passed his 90th birthday, but had been in failing health for several years. His four children from two marriages were with him. Tom came to the U.S. on a special agricultural worker's visa, a quintessentially city kid who had been trained to do farm work at a Jewish agency camp in Brandenburg. After Pear Harbor, he escaped indentured servant-like conditions at a farm in Virginia by joining the U.S. Army, in which he became a paratrooper and interpreter. (He never lost his pronounced German accent!) Tom fought in Normandy, was taken P.O.W. for several weeks, survived to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, and became interpreter to General James Gavin. The high point of his military career may have been guarding the door to General Gavin's office while the general was "interviewing" Marlene Dietrich, who had come to entertain the troops. After the war, Tom went to Wesleyan University on the G.I. bill, then to U.C., Berkeley where he got his Ph.D., became an Assistant Professor of history, and published an important monograph "Still-born Revolution". In the Fall of 1963 he joined the fledgling History Department at Stony Brook, then consisting of six faculty. When, two years later, the graduate program began, Tom started training a succession of modern German historians, several of whom have became major figures in the field. With the generous library budget of those halcyon days, he built an outstanding collection of books on German and European history. Always demanding of his students, his colleagues, and himself, Tom was both loved and sometimes feared. His rages, usually over little things, could be epic, even though he himself was small of stature. He was a serious scholar, good teacher, good colleague, and ultimately a good friend. In effect, one of the founding members of the Department who contributed to its early strength in European history, he will be mourned by those of us who remember him fondly.
(Karl Bottigheimer)
Cliff Swartz: passed away after being taken to the Stony Brook hospital the second week of August. Cliff was one of the first faculty to join Stony Brook's Department of Physics in 1957. He divided time between teaching and doing research in high energy physics at the Cosmotron in Brookhaven Laboratory until teaching became the greater passion for him. He has been editor of the magazine "The Physics Teacher" for most of its existence. In 1987, he won the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers, joining other recipients like Victor Weiskopf, Charles Kittel and Richard Feynman. Although he officially retired from the faculty in 1995, he maintained his presence and involvement with the Department until recently. Cliff was an author of more than thirty books, most of them physics texts. He was also a poet and a writer of several plays that were recited and performed in the Stony Brook community. For the last few months the loss of his beloved wife Barbara and his fight with Parkinson's made life difficult for him, but he found pleasure in the company of his children and friends. A memorial service is planned for him later in the Fall. (Provost Kaler)
Jacob Bigeleisen: Member, regular attendee, and speaker at our meeting of February 2005, Jake died of pulmonary disease on August 7 at the age of 91. An obituary by Provost Kaler was sent out on university email on August 27.

Last Meeting
David Bouchier the award-winning essayist for National Public Radio Stations WSHU and WSUF in Fairfield, Connecticut regaled us at our May luncheon with the results of his lifelong quest for wisdom. We do not have to summarize this epic tale, as the whole thing is now up on David's website, - see http://davidbouchier.com. Click on "writing life" and scroll down until you get to the heading: "A Word to the Wise".

Information on the new Healthcare bill for seniors (even if they don't deserve it?)
Although many of us were disappointed that the reforms were not stronger and more like what we enjoy with Medicare, there are some significant improvements for retirees. (no death panels!) Here are some of the changes:
*Although SUNY retirees covered by the Empire prescription plan do not have to subscribe to Part D of Medicare, many retirees will see a gradual phasing out of the infamous "doughnut hole". There will be a $250 rebate in 2010 for those who fall into the hole and in 2011, they will receive a 50% discount on brand-name drugs and government subsidies for generic drugs. Eventually, the hole will be eliminated entirely.
*In 2011 seniors in Medicare will receive free annual checkups and there will no longer be co-payments for preventive screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
*It provides financial assistance to employer health plans that cover early retirees, bringing down health costs and premiums by as much as $1200 per year in some plans.
*It encourages doctors to coordinate care by creating incentives for providers to work together to better serve patients and reduce wasteful care like repeated tests.
*It enacts CLASS Act creating a new option for long-term assistance for seniors and the disabled. This would be a voluntary self-insured program.
*It enacts the Elder Justice Act which authorizes background checks on long-term health care workers, and more transparency of nursing home care and finances, with an improved complaint process.
*It brings savings to Medicare by eliminating wasteful payments to Medicare Advantage plans. These plans are paid on average 14% more (($1000 per enrollee) than traditional Medicare. This results in higher payments for part B for those who are not in the Advantage plans. The Advantage plans can no longer charge higher co-pays than Medicare and they must report the portion of premium dollars spent on medical care. They must spend 85% of premiums on health care rather than administrative costs and executive pay!
For more information, go to the AFT website: http://www.aft.org/yourwork/retirees/
(Judy Wishnia)