Your turn

A sampling of reader reaction to recent issues of the UC Santa Cruz Review. E-mail us at


Feedback on ‘Oh brother, where art thou?’

Ed. note: We received numerous letters expressing an emotional response to our story on UCSC’s pioneering art professors, "Oh brother, where art thou?," in the fall 2010 Review (page 16), including the ones below.

I especially enjoyed the fall 2010 issue of UC Santa Cruz Review, in particular the article about past art instructors with whom I studied—in particular Don Weygandt. I am still painting and etching, exhibiting, and teaching a kids' arts and crafts workshop at the Activities Center at Park La Brea, Calif., and I also published an illustrated children's book.
—Debora Gillman (Porter ’74, French literature, art minor)

Thank you for bringing back some very fond memories of Don Weygandt and his art classes. While I did not make art a career, it has remained a very important part of my life, in part due to lessons learned from Prof. Weygandt's palette.
—Tom Frady, pioneer class of ’69 (psychology)

I was so happy to see the article about art at UCSC and have often wondered what had become of some of the teachers I dealt with. I was there in 1973, when I transferred as a junior working toward a B.A., mainly in painting. At the time I was just over 40 years old, so I was close in age to the professors in the article.

Don Weygandt was my favorite of the bunch. He had a way of making you feel as though you were special and that you had promise in what you were doing.

The whole experience at UCSC was great, and it gave me the feeling that my need to express my art was a true one.

I have long since thought that UCSC has moved away from art, as I knew it then; it is good to know that it still exists there.
— Gerald Avenmarg (Porter ’68, art)

The article on Don, Doug, and Jack moved me to tears on the train this morning.
—Susan Stauber (Porter ’76, art)

Has UCSC lost its edge?

In the 45th anniversary issue of the Review (fall 2010), I looked in vain for celebration of the unique educational experiment that UCSC represented from its inception. You discuss the university’s founding solely in terms of the local climate, and you highlight every milestone of enrollment growth. I suggest you keep a copy of The Perpetual Dream (1978), by Gerald Grant and David Riesman, in your offices and make it required reading for your writers and editors.

Universities are subject to "regression toward the mean," and radical institutions like the early Santa Cruz gradually lose their distinctiveness over the years. The early Santa Cruz atmosphere cannot be recaptured, and that's probably just as well. But it should be honored. To quote Michael S. Brown's letter (fall, p. 2, "Your turn"), this is "UCSC's heritage and soul."
—Winslow Rogers, parent of current student, Grass Valley, Calif.

Make evals student optional

Regarding "Narrative evaluations become instructor optional" (spring 2010, p. 25), I consider this an unfortunate move, and would rather see the Academic Senate make narrative evaluations student optional.

Even looking back after 28 years, I can read my narrative evaluations and see why graduate schools, and later medical schools, recognized that I was an optimal candidate for their programs. My narrative evaluations would have translated into a 4.0 GPA virtually anywhere if graded, but they would say next to nothing about me other than about my academic prowess.

I urge the Academic Senate to reconsider this misguided subversion of UCSC’s core mission.
—Mark Gary Blumenthal (College Eight ’81, independent major)

Letters policy