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Letters Admissions; sports memories


Admissions ups, downs

The article by Angel B. Perez ’98 [“Race, class, and belonging,” fall ’07] was one of the most moving essays ever in the history of Scope. How marvelous that Skidmore prepared him for college the summer before, supported him while he studied, and never forgot him. Bravo to Mr. Perez for rising to the challenge and giving of himself to help so many who have similar histories. Skidmore just rose a few more notches in my book.

Rose Lee Schainman Halper ’59
Westport, Conn.

Skidmore’s admissions numbers [“Flocking to Skidmore,” fall ’07] continue to impress. In the future I am sure Skidmore will reach a point where it wouldn’t even have admitted me. What distresses me, however, is the decision to opt out of US News and World Report’s reputational survey. I am not an expert on the politics, procedures, or grievances regarding how US News comes up with its college rankings, but calling something a “popularity contest” sounds like sour grapes.

Will US News give the opting-out schools a zero in the prestige category? Since that score has the highest weight in the calculations, won’t our overall ranking significantly decline? Given the types of schools opting out, this boycott will only increase the prestige rankings of the well-known schools, because there will be no counterbalance from the smaller liberal-arts institutions. I think this is a bad policy move on Skidmore’s part.

Wendell C. Arnold ’96
Newark, Calif.

Sports memories

“Sporting chance” [fall ’07] was interesting, informative, and right on. I coached Skidmore men’s tennis in 1980–85, when we were in a league with schools that offered athletic scholarships. We still went on to nationals three times. But one of the best moves Skidmore made was to join the NCAA Division III. That leveled the playing fields in all sports and made Skidmore more competitive.

I always stressed academics first, then tennis; girlfriends came third. I felt close, like a father, to all of my guys.

After I had to quit coaching, my wife and I invited my alumni back to Skidmore for a match against the varsity team, and had both teams over to our house for Buffalo wings afterward. Fun times. And fond memories. I am proud of what Skidmore has done for athletics and what athletics has done for Skidmore.

Rod Whalen
Tyler, Texas

In the article about athletics at Skidmore, I was distressed to read nothing about the women’s ice-hockey team. It was the reason I went to Skidmore. We drew crowds equal to the men’s team and maintained a significantly better win-loss record than they did, despite the fact that Skidmore didn’t hire a coach for our team until my junior year. Yet the year after my graduation the women’s team was demoted to club status and soon eliminated. It seems to me that in the college’s attempts in those years to attract male students, it sacrificed women’s interests.

Cindy Pendleton ’85
Spencer, Mass.

I’ve thought your article on athletics at Skidmore was a very comprehensive and balanced review and captured the importance of athletics to a quality liberal-arts education. While it’s somewhat discouraging to think that some influential members of the Skidmore community do not value the role of athletics, it is much more encouraging to think of the significant gains in stature -- thanks to key faculty, administrators, and trustees -- during the past five years. I didn’t mention alumni athletes because I believe their support has always been there. But until the hockey crisis, they were a dormant resource.

While I realize many of Skidmore’s faculty have wonderful relationships with their students, I thought Prof. Dan Nathan’s comment about the closeness of coaches and students was right on. I’ve met all of the coaches and athletics’ staff and feel strongly that the student athletes have the privilege of working with some wonderful role models.

I’m confident that in another five years, we will be reflecting on further gains for athletics at Skidmore -- especially in new and renovated facilities.

 Jim Ricker, parent ’91,’96, ’97
(co-chair, with wife Joyce ’69, of Friends of Skidmore Athletics)

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