From the Readers

Alumni feedback on the Winter magazine, the new pool, and Oxy's next president. Also: How did we put this issue together?

Making a Splash

What an outstanding Winter issue! Everything about the publication is first-class, from the writing and photography to the layout and paper—even the inks and fonts. Every article was superb and inspirational. What a fine impression it makes on new readers. Keep up the great work!

Anne Marie Novinger ’57 & George W. Novinger ’54

Seal of Approval

Fantastic pool. Not like the one I swam all my laps in!

Don Gambril ’56
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Wild About Harry

With all the current uncertainty and gloom in the world, I’d like to chime in on a very positive recent event. When my husband, Bob Gutzman ’87, and I heard the news that Occidental had chosen Harry J. Elam Jr. as the next president of the College, we were delighted for both Harry and for Oxy.

Harry was one of the first senior-level administrators Bob and I met when we went to Stanford Admit Weekend with our son, Will, four years ago. He was very engaging and approachable.

We’ve kept in touch with Harry over the years and have visited with him at events down here in Southern California as well as up in Northern California. Harry is a quality human being, and if he is half as good a president as he is a person, Oxy has hit a home run with his selection!

If you get a chance to meet Harry, whether on campus or at an event in your part of the country, I think you’ll agree that he is a great addition to the Oxy family, and we should welcome and fully support him.

Marcie Chan ’89

Get Me Rewrite!

A year ago, you published an article about the professors leaving with kudos from their best and brightest students (“A Generation of Greats,” Spring 2019). I wanted to respond about Dr. Keith Naylor. I am certainly not among his best and brightest students, but he had a positive lasting impact on my abilities in college and beyond. I had him for Multicultural Summer Institute and Revivalism and Social Reform. That first paper I wrote at Oxy was for MSI, done on a manual typewriter in 1989. When he returned the papers, he told us that all of the papers he had received were so bad that he wouldn’t even grade them, save one. I was not that one. He told us to go home and rewrite the papers entirely. I will be forever grateful to him for insisting on quality and helping me to up my game.

Jed Carosaari ’93
Maarif, Casablanca, Morocco

From the Editor: Home Edition

On the first weekend of March, when we interviewed and photographed Harry J. Elam Jr. for the cover story of this issue, social distancing was in its infancy. (Remember elbow bumping? Doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago?) Concerns over COVID-19 were already prompting the cancellation or postponement of concerts and festivals, but things moved rapidly after that. Eight days after the photo shoot, I was working on this issue on my couch in Highland Park.

Our story lineup quickly evolved as well in the hopes of bringing you as complete a picture of Oxy’s response to the pandemic as humanly possible given the challenges of working from home. We’ve tried a few new things out of necessity, including photographing six Oxy seniors remotely with a little help from cellphones and video apps. (Check out the results here.)

Wherever this magazine finds you, stay safe and enjoy this issue.

Dick Anderson