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Hardly a "modest" increase

Golden reconnections

An inspiring ROTC leader

Where's the beef?

A "surprising" statement

Hardly a "modest" increase

I read with some skepticism the rather spurious claim in the headline of an article in the April edition that the trustees have announced a rather "modest" tuition increase of 4.9 percent [ "Trustees Approve Modest Tuition Hike for Hopkins Undergraduates"]. Since inflation and the consumer price index are currently averaging between 2 percent and 3 percent a year, a 4.9 percent increase can hardly be called "modest."

In fact, over the years, tuition fees at most private schools have far outstripped the rate of inflation. My own case in point is a good example. For the 1965-1966 academic year (my senior year at Hopkins), I remember hearing my father complain that the tuition had gone up to the outrageous rate of $2,000. According to the long-term consumer price index, $2,000 in 1965 would have the purchasing power of $11,414 at the end of 2002. But the tuition at Hopkins is $28,730! Tuition fees at Hopkins are far exceeding the rate of inflation.

If one were to extrapolate, in 2041, the tuition for one year at Johns Hopkins would be about $412,000. If that sounds outrageous, consider how someone in 1965 would view today's tuition of nearly $29,000.
Iver Mindel '66
Cockeysville, MD

Golden reconnections

As a long-ago Johns Hopkins faculty member ( Geography and Environmental Engineering, 1965-72), I particularly enjoyed two pieces in the April issue.

The first is the great article by John Tesner about my second-favorite mentor, (M. Gordon) "Reds" Wolman ["Forever Altered"]. (My favorite mentor was his dad, Abel Wolman.) Tesner's recollection of individual attention strikes a chord, and demonstrates that it runs in the family; my files still hold several encouraging notes from Abel to a struggling assistant professor working in a field at great distance from Abel's experience. Each note produced a warm feeling. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

The second was the nice sports story about Michael Liebman's lacrosse career ["Lacrosse Comes Full Circle"]. As a brand-new assistant professor in 1965, I became aware of Michael, because at that time I had a 2-year-old son named Michael Liebman! Though [the lacrosse player] and I have never met, he is responsible, through the name connection, for my beginning interest in lacrosse. I attended some games, and got excited about the sport. I brought my lacrosse interest to the University of Illinois when my wife Judith (PhD '71) and I moved here in 1972. Thanks for providing some great reconnections.
Jon C. Liebman
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Engineering
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

An inspiring ROTC leader

Kudos to Master Sgt. Matthew Eversmann for "Is War Hell?" and for inspiring ROTC cadets to serve our country. While at JHU from 1933 to 1937, I was a member of ROTC. Our PMS&T, Col. Hoisington, so inspired me that I decided to make military service my career, a decision I have never regretted.
Edward L. Rowny
Washington, D.C.

Where's the beef?

I propose the following "Hopkins Arts & Sciences math problem" based on the statistics attributed to physician Robert Lawrence in Martha Thomas' article, "Health Stakes High in Meatless Monday Push".

Q. If it takes "7,000 pounds of grain" to produce one pound of beef, and if "the average American is responsible for 800 kilos (1,764 pounds) of grain consumption per year," then how much beef does the average American consume per year?

A. 1,764 pounds of grain per year, divided by 7,000 pounds of grain per pound of beef = .252 pounds of beef per year. OK, the average American thus consumes one quarter-pounder per year?!
Robert P. Morris
Glen Rock, PA

Oops! You're right -- we goofed. Polly Walker, associate director of the Center for a Livable Future at Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote to correct us. Her letter below should help clear up your confusion...

There are several facts that need correction in Martha Thomas' article on the Center for a Livable Future's "Meatless Monday" project.

The article should have read, "Our grain, you see, goes to feeding livestock, mainly beef, one pound of which takes seven pounds of grain to produce" -- not 7,000. (Each pound of grain requires 1,000 pounds of water, hence each pound of beef requires 7,000 pounds of water.)

Secondly, ground water pollution is more of a problem surrounding large-scale concentrated animal production facilities, where thousands of animals are raised, rather than around the slaughterhouses, as the article states.

Thirdly, other animal products that contain saturated fat include whole milk and whole milk cheeses, as well as eggs and butter as mentioned.

A "surprising" statement

According to "Good Neighbors" [February 2003], a Hopkins student nurse told a pregnant 13-year-old who was "emphatically opposed to abortion" that her pregnancy was "blood and tissue." This statement surprised me. Health care workers associated with The Johns Hopkins University, an institution presumably dedicated to the pursuit of truth, should strive for accuracy, whatever their political leanings. I would suggest an ultrasound of the fetus to determine who was more accurate: the student nurse ("blood and tissue") or the 13-year-old ("a little baby").
Claire Skarda Negas, MA '82
Frederick, MD

Return to June 2003 Table of Contents

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