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Letters to the Editor: Winter 2021

Recovering the Glory

Cover of the Fall 2021 issue of Virginia Magazine, featuring the national champion men’s lacrosse team

I enjoyed your recent Virginia Magazine and coverage of the men’s lacrosse championship. I graduated from UVA medical school in 1972 and plan to attend the upcoming 50th reunion.

Your article reminded me of a study I did in 1971 in conjunction with the Department of Cardiology. Our lacrosse team had won its first NCAA championship the year before.

The research paper defined what we know now as “the athletic heart syndrome.” As an athlete’s conditioning peaks, his or her heart rate slows down, and blood pressure and pulse decrease. This was once considered detrimental and a possible reason for exclusion from vigorous athletic participation.

I thought this might be a bit of trivia you would be interested in. As an added note, Dr. Richard S. Crampton, the co-author, treated LBJ when he had a heart attack while visiting his daughter and son-in-law in Charlottesville in 1972.

David M. Lavine (Med ’72)
Fort Worth, Texas


Just wanted to write a note about the article “Recovering the Glory” by Ed Miller. This was a great article about the success of UVA’s spring sports although it completely left out the Women’s Rowing team. This article completely left out the fact that the rowing team won their 20th ACC Championship (the most by any UVA sport) and finished fifth at the NCAA Championships (not to take anything away from baseball, which was featured, but rowing placed higher).

The ’Hoos in Tokyo listing on page 49 shows the SEVEN (again the highest number) UVA rowers who were Olympians—who won two golds and a silver!

Admittedly I am biased as I am the wife of the rowing coach.  I do think these women who work incredibly hard should receive the acclaim that they duly deserve in your publication along with the other athletes you choose to feature. Their results year after year put them among the elite of the sports at UVA—two NCAA Championships and 20 ACC Championships!

Barb Sauer (Nurs ’94)
Earlysville, Virginia


UVA Olympians Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass winning silver and bronze medals in the 200-meter individual medley was one of the most exciting chapters in the long and successful history of UVA athletics. Watching two world-class swimmers swim straight down the middle of their lanes, never veering to the right or the left, made me wonder whether there is a correlation with educating students at the University of Virginia.

In my era, the 1970s, the University proudly educated to the right. More recently, it appears, the University is hugging the left. What if Alex and Kate had hugged the left or right lane lines? Would they have swum so well? Very doubtful.

Can our University leadership learn something from this? Does educating with a strong left or right bias really accomplish the primary goals of education—teaching young people how to learn and how to think? Or, like Alex and Kate, would UVA students be better off being educated without a pull to the left or right?

John W. Guinee (Col ’77, Darden ’82)
Delray Beach, Florida

The Newest ’Hoos

Amazed and humbled by the Class of ’25 essays. Cannot help but see a brighter future for Virginia, and the nation, as these students move to maturity and service. Thank you for sharing.

C. Cooper Pearce (Med ’70)
Alexandria, Virginia


Sarah Lindenfeld Hall’s report of UVA’s incoming Class of 2025 brought me hope for a brighter future. UVA’s recruitment efforts have certainly yielded much more opportunity and access to a superb education compared with when I was a student. The acceptance rate for this new class of 21 percent is comparable to elite universities. However, the reported rate of 37 percent for admission of legacy students shows a stark contrast.

Admitting legacy students can bring benefit and distinction to a university but is counter to the laudable recent efforts focused on diversity, equity and inclusion at UVA. Ellie Brasacchio, who recently served as president of Student Council, called to abolish legacy admissions in her Feb. 4, 2020, article in the Cavalier Daily.

While I agree with Ms. Brasacchio that doing so would send a clear message about UVA’s commitment to diversity, perhaps we should consider a new approach to encouraging generations of families to attend. The same admission standards should be applied to all applicants. Upon admission, a legacy student could then self-identify as a “legacy scholar.” This new cohort could be invited to match with a first-generation student to participate together in extracurricular activities they both enjoy, as well as mentoring and tutoring in subject areas of need. This new model could benefit both the legacy and the first-generation student. 

This may reduce the number of legacy students but will make the college experience more enriching and reflective of our future rather than an admissions practice that is as out of step from UVA’s mission and vision as the memorials of the Confederacy.

Jeffrey H. Toney (Col ’81)
Scotch Plains, New Jersey

UVA Takes Down a Statue, Takes Up Free Speech

As I began reading “UVA Takes Down a Statue, Takes Up Free Speech,” I expected to be outraged. I wasn’t.

As I understand it, the University is upholding the bedrock principles of free speech, free inquiry and free expression, while cleaning up some of the monumental mess left behind over the years.

I’ve never been a fan of statues. I have long advocated chopping out Jefferson’s statue from the Jefferson Memorial while leaving the words on the walls. Jefferson’s words are important. The giant image of Jefferson is not.

And don’t even get me started on Mount Rushmore …

Michael Sultan (Col ’88) 
Springfield, Virginia


As a UVA alumnus who’s spent my entire career teaching at a public college in Idaho named after Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, whom Thomas Jefferson famously sent to explore the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest, I quite enjoyed your article about historical statuary.

In particular, I appreciated the UVA-style rebuttal of current white-victimization canards about so-called cancel culture in relation to removing statues and monuments that no longer reflect mainstream American values. This is not the same as erasing or censoring history, rather simply saying we no longer wish to celebrate things like African slavery and Jim Crow, or equally the violent taking of Native American lands and lives for purposes of settler-colonial expansion and settlement.

Lewis-Clark State College’s campus features a recently installed and quite beautiful large statue honoring Sacagawea, the young Lemhi Shoshone woman who guided, fed and protected the men on the Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804 to 1806.

Honoring the people who actually did the work seems a fitting way to remember history both here and nationwide, a principle now also being applied to good effect by UVA’s honoring of the enslaved people involved in the construction and operation of Mr. Jefferson’s University in its earlier years.

Chris Norden (Col ’82, Grad ’86) 
Moscow, Idaho


To commemorate the contributions Dr. Thomas Hunter made as dean of the medical school, guiding the University in medical affairs and contributions to world health and climatology, his name should adorn the Frank Hume Memorial.

Tristram C. Dammin (Med ’74)
Boston, Massachusetts


I was surprised at the thoroughness of the BOV to remove all monuments of the Confederacy at the University. It would seem the BOV has left no stone untouched in its zeal to correct the past. However, I recall there is a Confederate cemetery near Hancock, my first-year dorm. Doubtless there are numerous memorials there that need to be addressed. I wonder what all this emotion will achieve in the end.

John Allis (Col ’75)
Machias, Maine


I write to comment on the appalling story on the historical vandalism being carried out on the Grounds by removing various statues and memorials.

It is bad enough that such know-nothingism is being effected, but the article not only reported on such activity, but had an overall air not only of approval but of smug triumphalism. Such actions do not vary any material degree from the actions of the Islamic State fanatics in Iraq and Syria a few years ago. It is political correctness and “woke-ism” run amok. How in any sane universe could this mad destruction extend to George Rogers Clark?

If this arrogant ignorance is carried to its logical end, then Mr. Jefferson’s statue and architectural memorials in the form of the Rotunda and the Lawn must surely also go down the 1984 memory hole.

Your article should have condemned these actions, but you obviously felt compelled to join in support, so as, no doubt, to seem to be trendy and to court acceptance by the woke mob.

It is this sort of nihilism that leads alumni such as myself to cease contributing to the University, which I have now done. What a sad and pitiful commentary on the fall of a great institution.

Richard H. Gill (Law ’65) 
Montgomery, Alabama

In Memoriam: John Warner

Thank you for your tribute to U.S. Sen. John Warner in the fall issue of Virginia Magazine.

I remember meeting Elizabeth Taylor at UVA when she was campaigning for the senator in the late 1970s. She was gracious to all of us. Her eyes were as violet and beautiful as we had always heard.

I did have occasion to meet Sen. Warner a number of years later. After the Virginia Tech shooting, his office invited the families of the survivors and dead to meet with him at his office on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, on the day of the meeting, he was rushed to the hospital, but his staff met with the families. They had cleared their schedule and visited with them for hours. Their kindness and patience with the families surely was a reflection of him. I did get to meet him at an event in Alexandria a few months later. He was one of the few Republicans who had been an advocate for commonsense gun laws; we were grateful for his support and willingness to listen. 

I last saw the senator at a luncheon where Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the guest speaker. I thanked him again for his advocacy, and he, as always, was modest and a gentleman. 

Lu Ann Maciulla McNabb (Col ’79) 
Centreville, Virginia

When Student Activist Sabato Dug in for Clemons

Thanks so much for the fall issue’s article “Retrospect: When Student Activist Sabato Dug in for Clemons.” It brought pleasant memories of my fourth year when Larry lived on the front page of the Cavalier Daily. He seemed to be everywhere, doing everything, all the time … unlike the shy, almost reclusive faculty member he has become.

Steve Taylor (Col ’74)
Reston, Virginia


I greatly enjoyed your recent piece on Larry Sabato’s efforts to create Clemons Library. In the fall of 1978, I worked for a period as the librarian of the Institute of Government Library in Minor Hall. My job consisted primarily of making endless copies of cheerless legislative documents, working with an equally cheerless team of older bureaucrats. I was a freshly minted college graduate. Of course they were older! Standing out in this crowd with his wonderful sense of humor was my near doppelganger, Larry Sabato. 

I had no idea he was only four years ahead of me at UVA. We both sported black hair in a ’70s coif, wore eyeglasses and had a mustache. 

Evan Cantor (Col ’78)
Boulder, Colorado


Larry, thank you! I remember Larry back then, and Alderman Library was crowded at tables, in the stacks, etc.

Carol Compton Hopkins (Col ’77)
Bristol, Connecticut

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Editor, Virginia Magazine, 
P.O. Box 400314, Charlottesville, VA 22904