Integration from Behind the Scenes »

The [Summer 2017] article did not mention that along with the recruitment of African-American students, UVA hired some of the finest African-American professors in the country. One such professor was Joseph Washington III, who taught religion. I took every class from him I could. I sat in the front of the class and for 50 minutes the professor and I discussed the philosophical topic of the day. It was the highlight of my academic life.

Philip Salembier (Col ’71)
Paonia, Colorado


I was sadly reminded of my years at the University medical school from 1951–1955 when I read the article. In my junior year, the first black students were enrolled. The question that came before my medical school fraternity, Phi Chi, was should we invite them to our usual rush party, when we tried to recruit new members to join the fraternity and even rent rooms in the Virginia Avenue address. The problem was that the state laws prevented any joint living between blacks and whites unless the former were servants of the latter. I very bravely said that if any profession should try to push for equal treatment, the medical profession should lead the struggle. I also cravenly decided that no matter how strongly I felt, I would never be committed as an activist for racial equality in the South, hence my address since 1962 has been New York. The nation is better now than then, but I read almost daily the news stories that tell how much farther we have to go.

Carl J. Kilgore (Med ’55)
Ithaca, New York


Your article brought back memories of my experience in the fall of 1969 when, as a white student from Winnipeg, I was paired with a black student from rural Virginia [in graduate-student housing for first-year law]. The dorm was almost exclusively white American, with a handful of African Americans along with a corresponding handful of white foreign students.

After a few months, when I felt more comfortable talking to him about race relations, I commented that I thought the administration was doing an excellent job in integrating the graduate black students, and how fortunate I was to have him as my roommate. He looked at me, smiled, and asked me to list the black students I knew in our dorm. I came up with a half-dozen names. He then asked me who they had as roommates. It took me a few seconds to realize every single one of those African-American students had been assigned a foreign student as a roommate.

I realized at that point it would take many more years before the University could truly call itself an integrated institution.

Lawrence Leonoff (Law ’70)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Lights Out »

I recall certain nights in the winter during those years [1949–52] walking with my father [an engineering student on the G.I. Bill] down Copeley Hill to Memorial Gym to watch the boxing matches. The place was something out of a dream for a Venable Elementary School kid my age. The gym was dark, save for the brightly lit ring. I saw big guys hammering away at each other, sometimes falling, other times having their arms raised. I was transfixed. We usually watched from the heights of the running track, exactly where I watched the ’Hoos basketball teams when I came back as a first-year.

After the bouts were over, my father would hoist me onto his shoulders, and we’d make the trek back up Copeley, my head aswirl with all I had seen and heard. Thanks for helping me take another walk.

Robert M. Austin II (Col ’71; Darden ’78)
Richmond, Virginia


In my fourth year I was a dancing sailor in [the Virginia Players’ production of ] “Anything Goes.” The night of our last dress rehearsal, I rushed from Minor Hall, with makeup still on, down the hill to Mem Gym. My “corner man,” a Sigma Nu fraternity brother, Frank Roda (who later won the 178-pound event), got me into gear. I won the 141-pound title on a TKO.

I believe I alone share with [former boxer and IRS Commissioner] Mortimer Caplin (Col ’37, Law ’40) the Virginia Players-UVA boxing connection, although Mort was far superior in both undertakings.

Terry Birkel (Col ’69)
Washington, D.C.


You might want to go back and ask Peter Schmidt the Younger again about matches he considers “nothing to write home about.” Pete was an intramurals champion and one hell of a boxer.

Kit Henningsen (Col ’74)
Stoney Creek, Connecticut


In 1948 my brother, Mac Luck Jr. (Com ’54) ran the ice cream concession for all varsity sports at UVA. I was his star and only salesman. We were at all the UVA home boxing matches. Ralph “Buddy” Shoaf (Educ ’50), [pictured in the story] landing a haymaker on the West Point boxer, was a dream boxer to watch. He had no defense. After his opponent had hit him with everything he had and was getting tired, Buddy would usually knock him out. Buddy was in World War II in the Marine Corps and fought in a lot of the Pacific campaigns. He returned to UVA and graduated in 1950. As you may know, he was an excellent UVA football player. Thanks for bringing back these wonderful memories.

Carleton (Buddy) Luck (Col ’57)


College football at UVA can and should follow the same trajectory into obscurity as boxing. The deaths and injuries described in the magazine’s recent boxing article bear uncomfortable parallels with what is increasingly being discovered in connection with football. It may be a bit early to take on the behemoth that is college football, but your article on boxing was a reminder that even the most popular sports—those with inherent life-threatening dangers to participants—can and should be discontinued.

Michael Sultan (Col. ’88)
Springfield, Virginia


Looking back on a 40-year academic career, I will never forget being summoned to serve on the “Boxing Committee” as a newly minted assistant professor in the UVA Department of Plastic Surgery. As someone with lots of experience patching up broken faces, I joined several others. I remember specifically chairman of neurosurgery John Jane, whom I knew well because of our collaboration on several of UVA’s earliest craniofacial reconstruction procedures, a pioneering program.

What I cannot remember is the committee’s final recommendation. From your article, I gather that in 1972 varsity boxing was long gone. I am guessing that our committee might have been formed because of early pressure to terminate intramural boxing.

Dr. Jack C. Fisher (Res ’72)
San Diego, California

Next Chapter »

While it may not have been possible to get figures for collection size, items lent, etc., due to the current renovations, I hope that the Chemistry Library did not avoid your notice, even if it could not make it into the article. It is a great, smaller departmental library and good study spot during the week.

Joshua Allen (Col ’18)
Waynesboro, Virginia


While we’ve no doubt of [Dean of Libraries John] Unsworth’s good intentions as he leads a much-needed renovation of Alderman Library, we do wonder how many faculty and graduate students will endorse, when they have come to understand it, his model of the library as an electronically enhanced study hall, likely requiring “the repurposing of some stacks space for other uses” and the relegation of a significant percentage of its currently on-shelf books to remote storage. It was also curious that alumni, many of whom are engaged with UVA libraries as authors, researchers and donors, were nowhere cited as a concerned group whose perspectives on the proposed changes might be of value.

Page Nelson (Col ’76)
Judith Nelson (Grad ’73, ‘78, ’89)


Faulkner, Revisited »

One fine fall day, as I was leaving the [Phi Sigma Kappa] house to go to class, I saw [William Faulkner] walking toward me, and I was so flabbergasted that I could not say anything to him.  I turned around, and his pipe was fuming as he walked away from me.

Charles E. Beaver Jr. (Engr ’62)
Norfolk, Virginia

A Football Weekend in Black and White »

I was moved by Ray Passacantando’s recounting of his black friend’s [1953] visit to UVA as well as UVA Magazine’s choice to publish alumni accounts that don’t paint a rosy and diverse picture of life at the University. Exposing the true history certainly allows more recent alumni and friends to appreciate how inclusion has progressed, but, more so, it keeps a pertinent issue at universities and wider America top of mind.

The story highlights that part of the University’s accepted culture at the time was discrimination and disagreement with those who were different. I think it would be foolish to say we’re fully rid of that problem today, though I enjoyed every minute of my experiences at UVA as a minority student, and I can say we’ve come a long way, especially due to similar individuals refusing to partake in traditions they no longer believed upheld changing values.

Best to keep up discussions about the honest and uncomfortable parts of the past. Thanks so much for including this piece!

Brittany Taylor (Col ’10)


Camp Library at Darden Steve Hedberg

Our Summer 2017 interview with Game of Thrones executive Janet Graham Borba (Col ’79) erroneously referred to her as an economics major. As an Echols Scholar, she didn’t have to declare a major. The story also misspelled the name of Hot Shots! Director Jim Abrahams.

The photo of Camp Library at Darden in the Next Chapter feature of the Summer issue was incorrect. The correct photo is shown here. A pull-out box in the same feature incorrectly characterized the size of the library’s digital collection. The correct size is 86.8 terabytes.

We regret the errors.