A Day in Academia

22 May 2013

Thoughts at a Commencement

                My brother was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Monmouth University today.  He stood up there on the imposing stage of the Garden State Arts Center, dignified at 76 in the academic gown and sash they had wrapped him in.  In the days leading up to the Commencement he had been dismissive of the honor because he felt he had done nothing to deserve it.   It was obvious during the preamble time that the men and women he worked with like him wholeheartedly, coming up to him with genuine affection and quiet asides about what he has done for the University during his 15 years as a trustee, friend, and counselor.   I loved seeing him among people he has come to know and care about over time and began to realize what an important part of his retirement the University has become.  I am proud of my brother, Doctor of Laws. Continue reading

Indelible Memories


29 December 2011

What is it that causes a memory to become indelible?  It is usually a sharply edged moment, and it stays forever, and when we are old it often brings tears.

Jackson at the Middlebury Inn on Thanksgiving, very small and trying not to spill his milk while leaning forward and grasping the too big glass with both his little hands.  Continue reading

How Far Have We Come From Brokeback Mountain?

I wrote this piece in 2006 when most men refused to see Brokeback Mountain.  We’ve come a long way since then with a long way still to go.

2006 – After a Yale student told me that some of her male classmates were refusing to see Brokeback Mountain, I decided to talk with a few men whose minds are notably open on controversial subjects.  “Are you going?”  From all of them, various versions of “Not on your life.”  Why?  “I’m threatened,” each replied when pushed. Continue reading

Please Stop

It’s like yelling in a traffic tunnel.  No one hears you.  What you say makes no difference. And so you swallow your anger and continue as before, doing nothing.  There must be legions of us swamped by anger as we read The New York Times on January 24.  Why is it so hard to do something to stop Americans from shooting each other in public places? Continue reading