Rensselaer Magazine
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Reader Mail

Living the iEAR Dream

Over the past 10 years (I graduated with an MFA from iEAR in 1996) I’ve been trying to explain the miracles that occur when you bring engineers, architects, and artists together into the same space. Never have I seen it written so clearly and with such passion as the article by John Kolb ’79, “Education for Innovational Leadership,” in the Spring 2008 magazine.

There have been many improvements to the electronic arts program at Rensselaer since I graduated, and I can tell you they make me more and more proud of RPI. As an educator and explorer, I have been able to creatively solve (and create) problems that have opened doors for interdisciplinary, out-of-the-box projects within the state of California educational system. Thank you for putting into words the dream that I get to live as an iEAR alum.

Donna (McCabe) Eyestone ’96
Alameda, Calif.

Remembering Professor Livingstone

The article concerning the development of humanities studies at Rensselaer [“Humanities at the Half Century”] brought back memories of Ernest Livingstone, one of my favorite professors. Professor Livingstone was originally an attorney in Germany who fled from the Nazis. He settled at RPI teaching German. The man was a true scholar and excellent teacher noted for using the Socratic method. Livingstone also led Rensselaer to victory in all five appearances in 1961 on the College Bowl, a popular television intellectual competition. Professor Livingstone later went on to obtain a doctorate in musicology from the Eastman School and spent his final years in Rochester.

John Hazel ’65
Deatsville, Ala.

America Competes Act

In the Winter 2007-08 issue, President Jackson correctly points out the importance of the COMPETES Act that Congress passed in 2007 [“A New Golden Age of Scientific Investment?”]. This would promote science and math in our public schools. President Jackson adds that “the new legislation is essentially unfunded.”

There lies the problem—there is no money. A fairer form of taxation would provide funding, I believe. American businesses have, over the years, lobbied for tax cuts, and gotten them to the point that some companies pay little or no taxes through various loopholes. In my state of Wisconsin, a case in point is GE, which has a strong medical imaging business and yet pays no taxes, the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future reports. There are plenty of other examples and GE’s situation is far from the only case at the state and federal level.

But for America to compete in science and math there must be money available to fund programs such as COMPETE, and a fair form of taxation which includes big business in the process. This will require a return to the concept of the “common good” which prevailed in America until recent years. There are other ways that government can help businesses compete besides tax breaks.

Many RPI graduates can influence how capitalism and business works in our country. I wonder if this concept of the common good is accepted and taught at RPI?

John Murphy ’63, M.D.
Madison, Wis.

Remembering Joel Dolven

As a follow-up to Gunther Winkler’s letter in the Spring issue [“More Music Memories”], there are so many rich memories of Joel Dolven that it’s hard to focus on one aspect of our experience with him.

One of the richest was, I was privileged to sing in his church choir, Westminster Presbyterian, in Albany, which led me years later to become friends with some of the people who have been closest to me over the past 30 years. Yes, he taught me to sing and gave us opportunities to learn music we wouldn’t have elsewhere. He was, of course, always “Joel,” our professor, our mentor, and our friend.

We are, happily, coming up to our second RPI MusicFest in October. It will be a celebration for all alumni musicians to again sing the Rensselaer songs and to repeat our performance of 2006 where, I was told on good authority, the anthems had never been better sung in the Field House! I invite everyone who ever vocalized, plucked a string, or tooted a horn to join us. You know all the songs and we’ll find a comfortable place for you.

We’ll also continue work on the Dolven Fundraising Initiative to name a room in the new EMPAC building after our old friend.

Contact me (, Peter Pedone ( in the Alumni Office, or Gordon Kilby ’53 ( for further information.

Howard Henze ’69
Arden, N.C.

Smart Move!

Just now read about the 26th ranking of Lally School and that our favorite Best Western is now an RPI residence hall [At Rensselaer, Spring 2008]. Smart move, RPI! Old downtown Troy is special!

As a four-year (1996-2000) family/friend and RPI hockey+ supporter, I am writing to see if you can add my name to your list of subscribers and to be updated on RPI Class of 2000 hockey alumni. I miss our RPI family hockey experience.

Ah, fond memories from an old RPI hockey family alumnus who believes in the RPI philosophy of “leadership without titles.”

Frank Gardiner
Toronto, Ontario

We’d love to hear from you! To provide space for as many letters as possible, we often must edit them for length. Please address correspondence to: Rensselaer Magazine, Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, e-mail to, or call (518) 276-6531.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.