Emeritus Faculty Association newsletter #102, October 2004

Next meeting:
10:30 a.m., Friday, November 5, Javits Seminar Room, Melville Library E2340.
Helmut Norpoth (Political Science) will speak on “The 2004 Election: a First Cut.”
Professor Norpoth, who came to Stony Brook in 1979, has published four books and over sixty scholarly articles on public opinion and elections in the U.S., Britain, and Germany. His areas of specialization include partisan change, economic effects on the vote, and election forecasting. (His forecast this year, posted in late January, was that Bush would defeat Kerry by a comfortable margin.) He also regularly assists The New York Times with its electoral analysis of presidential and mid-term elections.

Last meeting:
Joel T. Rosenthal, Distinguished Professor of History, discussed his latest book: From the Ground Up: A History of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He had been contemplating this for many years and decided to go ahead even after Sydney Gelber published a book on the same subject, because he found this to be a rather formal chronology heavily tilted toward official documents. In contrast, Karl Bottigheimer, introducing the speaker, found Joel's book "refreshingly unofficial,"; and to have an "irascible, deeply idealistic, and devoutly engaged tone."; "While it does not circumvent or minimize divisions, disappointments, failures, and frustrations, complaints do not predominate."; There is an underlying "deep belief in the importance, achievements, and success, of SUNYSB as an institution"

Joel himself allowed as this was the first thing he had done where the participants had not all died by 1540. He tried to find "a line between autobiography or memoir on the one hand and a narrative history on the other.". To achieve this, the book often focuses on case studies for more expansive treatment. For example, among academic departments, Physics, English, and Psychology, are recurrently treated as bellwethers of the University's development in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Similarly, there are detailed discussions of "three moral crises" that he dwelt on in his talk:
. (1) the retrenchment of the Education Department, 1975-76;
(2) the Ernest Dube affair, 1983-85; and
Coser vs Moore, 1976-85. As someone personally involved in much of this, Joel believes that the institution on the whole did not always "respond with dignity". However, in the book, these episodes are recounted more in sorrow than in anger, as instances of the "vulnerable and exposed nature of a state university". The book concludes with a selection of pictures of "mostly living white men".

No doubt many will want to read this book just to see if and how they themselves are included (copies obtainable for $20 plus $1.75 tax by contacting jrosenthal@notes.cc.sunysb.edu). Clearly in a book such as this it is neither possible or appropriate to include everything each of us might like. On matters which your editor (drs) knew first hand, I found it to be accurate and fair, and above all, entertaining. (over)

Keeping in Touch: We would like this newsletter to be a means of communication among emeriti, especially but not exclusively those who have left the Stony Brook area.
To initiate this feature, here are a few updates.

Natalie Fiess, widow of Ed Fiess (English) and former assistant to the Chemistry chair, has been a member of the Carol Woods Retirement Community, Chapel Hill, NC (www.carolwoods.org) since 1994. Last year her enthusiasm for her continuing care community was featured in Outreach, the TIAA/CREF retiree magazine. She has recently been appointed to the Institutional Review Board for the UNC Medical Center, overseeing use of animals in research.
Jack Heller, former chair of Computer Sciences (jh@cs.sunysb.edu), and his wife Myra recently sold their Setauket house and moved to an apartment on W. 57 Street in Manhattan, within walking distance of the Broadway theatre district, where their son Adam often performs. Jack is recovering well from a quadruple heart by-pass operation.

Estelle James (www.estellejames.com). Former Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, retired from the World Bank in 2000, but continues doing research and advising on policy. In 2001, she served on the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, and she is currently a member of the governing board of the Kosovo Pension Trust (a new social security system). Author of Averting the Old Age Crisis: Policies to Protect the Old and Promote Growth (Oxford U.P. and World Bank, 1994), she is working on a new book, The Gender Impact of Pension Reform, to be published by the World Bank and University of Chicago Press late next year.

Please send your news to David Smith at the address given above.

And lastly:
For your general delectation and edification, our new feature: website of the month(!)
www.jibjab.com - click "Our Land" to download the animation and enjoy before Nov 2 .