Addiction Research

I found the article “Targeting Addiction” (Fall 2009) very intriguing. I especially was curious if Dr. Bankole Johnson’s research (or even topiramate itself) is applicable to other psychological medical conditions. I wondered particularly about those conditions that are or could be related to the release of dopamine and/or its failure to be inhibited by the body in certain people. For instance, is Dr. Johnson’s research being looked at for issues related to sex addiction or obesity?

On an unrelated note, I found the description of his path to medicine fascinating. After leaving UVA, I spent a brief stint in medical school but ended up choosing a career in higher education instead. I’m always interested to see the path students take to get where they ultimately want to be. I also still love science and like it when Virginia Magazine profiles research in this area.
Christine Jansen Coons (Col ’89)
Granada Hills, Calif.

Glancing at the cover of Virginia Magazine’s Fall 2009 issue, I saw the topic of “Treating Addiction” and immediately turned to the article. I attended UVA but never graduated, primarily because I had a drinking problem, so I was pleased to see the topic addressed in your magazine.

I read the article and am annoyed enough to write a letter to the beautiful university that I attended. For me and many recovering alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the answer. The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous helped me to stop drinking, and I urge you to offer that as a suggestion to anyone with a drinking problem.

Through the grace of God and folks in AA meetings, I am approaching 21 years of being sober.
Rosemary Sales
Virginia Beach, Va.

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Cartoon Cover

As I am writing this letter, I am looking at the cover of the Fall 2009 issue of Virginia Magazine with disgust. Not with displeasure with the talent of Jen Sorensen, but the apparent lack of mature judgment by the editors for choosing to celebrate the demise of culture, good taste, social behavior and tradition at the University of Virginia. The scene satirically portrayed on your cover is best described in Sorensen’s own words, “I really try to be very empirical and tell it as I see it.”

I entered the University in the fall of 1947, graduating (after the Korean War) in architecture in 1958. In my first year, there were 4,000 men students and 19 women in the Nursing School; all men wore jackets and ties, and first-year men wore felt hats. In the spring of 1948, the Archbishop of Canterbury led the graduation procession down the Lawn while the Philadelphia Orchestra played incidental music for the ceremony.
Robert R. Sowder (Arch ’58)
Redmond, Wash.

Your story on UVA cartoonist Jen Sorensen brought back memories of my “15 minutes of fame” my sophomore year as a cartoonist for The Harlequin in 1958-59. I rummaged through my attic and retrieved a few issues of the University’s humor magazine that I had not looked at in decades.

Although my work will quickly reveal that I was not destined for a career in cartooning, I enjoyed contributing a few covers, individual cartoons and even a comic strip called “Hot Lips for Sale.”

I never pursued my interest in cartoons after that year. Thanks to the inspiration and guidance of my French professors, T. Braxton Woody and Fred Proulx, I went on to study in Paris and then on to Princeton for graduate school. I taught French language and literature for eight years, leaving the academic world in 1969 to work for an advertising agency in Knoxville, Tenn., for another eight years. In 1977, I joined a newly created business newspaper called Furniture Today. I went on to become its publisher and am still selling ads. You never know where life will lead you, but I’m a big proponent of the liberal arts education I received at the University.
Joe Carroll (Col ’61)
Greensboro, N.C.

Opinions on Opinions

Mr. [Norman] Land asks why “progressive thinkers” fear Sarah Palin (Letters, Fall 2009). While I can’t speak for other alumni or Virginia Magazine-reading progressives, I feared Palin when she was a candidate for vice president because she seemed to me to be totally unqualified for that position. Remember when she couldn’t name one newspaper or magazine she reads? If I had been asked that question, I would have said I read Virginia Magazine, among others.
Larry Chamblin (Col ’60)
Pensacola, Fla.

It was frustrating to read Norman Land’s letter to the editor last issue, in which he described Katie Couric as “a cynical, self-serving journalist” who “ambushed” Sarah Palin during her infamous interview. The only things remarkable about the way Couric conducted the Palin interview are that Couric was eminently fair and that she asked simple, relevant and straightforward questions. And for good reason; Palin needed no help in sounding like a buffoon.
Josh Kolsky (Engr ’01)
Washington, D.C.

Polo Road

I enjoyed the many fine articles in the Fall 2009 issue, especially “The Vision for the Village.” I would, though, like to offer a comment on the polo article “Half-Horse, Half-Human” in the same issue. The article says that, “In 1953, three students leased a field north of Grounds off old Lynchburg Road.” However, Old Lynchburg Road is south of Grounds (and south of Charlottesville, of course). This obvious error jarred my recollections (I was a first year during the 1952-53 school year) and I seem to remember that a field north of Grounds and Charlottesville was used, but it was off Polo Grounds Road.
David Y. Miller (Col ’57)
Nellysford, Va.

Budget Woes

Bob Davis Photo from 1967 Corks and Curls

I don’t expect the young whippersnappers who wrote your sidebar “Virginia’s Top Five Quarterbacks” to remember a guy who played in the ’60s, but omitting Bob Davis from the list is a felony if ever there was one. I’ve seen all the great runners in the history of football. Nobody was as exciting as Davis, who held the UVA record for longest run from scrimmage (88 yards in 1964 until broken by running back Mikell Simpson in 2008, 44 years later) as a quarterback. Davis also led the ACC in passing in 1966.

However, it was as a runner that Davis electrified. I remember one game where he actually ran out the clock, cutting left and right and retreating and keeping on his feet until the clock expired. He suffered a serious knee injury on the last play of his college career but was still able to back up Joe Namath on the New York Jets. Maybe the guys you mentioned were wonderful, but Davis belongs in the group.
Tony Medley (Law ’65)
Marina del Ray, Calif.

Taking nothing away from Scott Gardiner, Aaron Brooks and Matt Blundin, perhaps Gary Cuozzo and Bob Davis deserve consideration for their accomplishments in the ’60s.
Burnett Trueworthy (Col ’66)
Woodville, Va.

Bob Davis was one of the most exciting UVA quarterbacks. [Former UVA head football coach] Bill Elias once said that Davis was the kind of player that you had to be careful not to overcoach. Subsequently, after Elias went to Navy, Davis was moved to other positions, reducing the possibility that his overall record would reflect his talent.
Marvin Hilton (Engr ’59)
Charlottesville, Va.

Baseball Error

How disappointing to read such a short article regarding the 2009 baseball team’s fabulous and record-setting season. Once again it seems the University is only interested in promoting its football and basketball teams. Your article also contained an error by identifying Coach Brian O’Connor as Dennis O’Connor.
Corinne Conlon (Nurs ’76, ’81)
Barboursville, Va.

True Leader

I was a captain of the 1962 Virginia Beach High School Seahawks football team and well remember the game against the mighty Bulldogs of Norfolk Academy. Dubby Wynne (Law ’71) quarterbacked the Academy team. And what a fine athlete and leader he was/is. He was gifted, resourceful, intelligent and a true sportsman. Of course, he has manifested all of these qualities in his professional life. The University is fortunate to have him as its rector and leader of the Board of Visitors.
Tom Ayres (Col ’68)
New Albany, Ohio

Who’s Pictured in Poster?

The following are comments posted on about the 1979 preppie poster.

Key piece of trivia—who is the Sigma Chi fraternity brother that Tom featured on the poster (Retrospect, Fall 2009)? Hint: his first name is actually Spencer.
Stephen Lord (Col ’78)
Oakton, Va.

Trivia? Obviously, Sigma Chi brother Spencer Tunnell. Great to see the poster as well as the nice tribute to Shady’s success and giving back to the community.

Ken Barnes (Com ’80)
Knoxville, Tenn.