Editor's Blog

Joseph Wakelee-Lynch

The Man Who Gave and Went

September 22, 2017

Last night in Portland, Oregon, a memorial service was held for Brian Doyle, an award-winning writer of essays and fiction who was editor of Portland Magazine, published by the University of Portland. Brian died this past May from a brain tumor.

Although I met Brian only twice and can’t count myself among his close friends, I’ve felt indebted to him for at least the past 10 years. When we redesigned LMU Magazine, the first issue of which appeared in July 2010, we studied Brian’s Portland magazine closely. In fact, we studied it even before then, with admiration. With envy. Brian filled the pages with humor, intelligence, cleverness, beauty, confidence, whimsey and an optimistic Catholic outlook on life that found evidence of God in all places and things. Brian was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, a product of Holy Cross priests, but I saw a strong Ignatian — that is to say, Jesuit — streak in his writing. I never got to ask him whether he would consider that a compliment or an insult.

Brian gave his magazine a unique voice and personality. Every page made the case for why a Portland education would be like no other for the student who chose to accept it. Every optimistic, insightful page offered alumni and all Portland’s communities a reason to support the university in the form of a welcoming invitation to be part of something important, smart, committed and even fun. Brian understood that people, including donors, would be attracted more by opportunity than obligation.

We learned from many of Brian’s lessons, all while knowing they’d bear no fruit if not applied with a deep understanding of LMU’s unique identity. When LMU Magazine finally debuted, it looked nothing like Portland magazine. Some congratulated us, saying, “LMU Magazine LOOKS like LMU!” Yet, to me Brian’s influence always has been clear, a mark of invisible hands.

Although I wasn’t at Brian’s memorial service last evening, I knew his family and friends in Portland were gathering to honor him. He was on my mind all day. Coincidentally, yesterday afternoon I happened across an essay of his in Notre Dame Magazine that warmed my heart. Generosity of spirit seems all too rare a virtue these days, but Brian had as much as you’d find among the population of a small town. His wealth made the lives of countless others richer. You can see a glimpse of Brian’s gift in his essay, whose title pays tribute to him as much as it serves the story.

Acting and Thinking

August 17, 2017

Life on the LMU campus during the months of June, July and August often matches what I imagine European summers to be: cities that have been vacated by their citizens who have gone off to breezy, pleasanter climes. It’s quiet here, and the pace of life seems slower. But the dog days aren’t always dull.

Last weekend, some 200 Jesuits and lay people working in ministries of the Society of Jesus in the western United States met here for two days to mark the beginning of a new era in the order’s western provinces. What used to exist as two provinces spanning 10 states, the Jesuits’ Oregon and California provinces, became one — Jesuits West — on July 1, 2017.

Easy to imagine for most of us are the challenges that come with change. Old ways provide the comfort of the familiar; new ways, the fear of the unknown. The Jesuits and their institutions — their works, as they call them — are no more immune to that fear than are the rest of us. Scott Santarosa, S.J., formerly the provincial of the Oregon province and now provincial of the new, larger organization, offered hope by way of the ever-useful biblical analogy of new and old wineskins: “… No man pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does so, the wine will burst the skins and both wine and skins will be lost. No, new wine is poured into new skins” (Mark 2:22). The boundaries of the new province are the new wineskins, he explained. “We have to fill them with new wine,” he said. Then came the hard, but exciting, part: “The new wine is the byproduct of our willingness to take risks.” (Some of those risks are outlined in the mission statement of the newly organized province.)

I thought of Santarosa’s advice today while reading the latest edition of Touchpoints, occasional commentaries by James Heft, S.M., president of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC and former provost and chancellor of the University of Dayton. Heft explored the complex relationship between thinking and believing, two abilities frequently seen as opposites. I’ve often considered one of the strongest challenges to my own faith is reconciling the size of the universe, containing perhaps billions of galaxies, with a belief in God — how can the two be possible? How do I reconcile what I know with what I believe but do not see? Heft quoted Isaiah (7:9) and Augustine, and he referred to William James’ advice in “Varieties of Religious Experience” — rather Ignatian advice, it seems to me — for testing religious doctrine: “First, does the teaching help us understand our lives? Second, is it consistent with the way we know things are? And third, what are the fruits or benefits for those who believe?”

Yet Heft shifted ground, finally, with another quote from Augustine: “‘We move towards God not by walking but by loving (non ambulando, sed amando).’ Loving is a special way of thinking. Loving is not blind, but bound.” Perhaps you have to allow the ground to shift when it comes to believing.

Santarosa spoke to that as well when he offered advice about dealing with redrawn geography of Jesuits West. “Don’t think your way into new ways of acting; rather, act yourself into new ways of thinking.”

That struck me as good advice in many predicaments.

Photo of Homeboy Industries mural by Jon Rou

The Lauridsen Celebration

June 29, 2017

Lux Aeterna

KUSC classical music DJ Alan Chapman, Morten Lauridsen and Los Angeles Master Chorale Artistic Director and Conductor Grant Gershon discuss Lauridsen’s landmark choral piece “Lux Aeterna,” as well as Paul Salamunovich’s role in the development of the composition, at the 20th anniversary celebration of the work at Walt Disney Concert Hall June 17, 2017.

Twenty years ago, Morten Lauridsen premiered his “Lux Aeterna,” a choral piece that was performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of Paul Salamunovich, who was also professor and director of choral activities at LMU. The event is looked upon as a landmark in choral music, as is the composition. The piece is performed all over the world, and Lauridsen himself is known around the globe for this and other works.

About 10 days ago, Lauridsen joined the chorale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of a weeklong celebration of his masterwork. The chorale’s recording of “Lux Aeterna” further cemented the group’s stature on the global map of choral music, and it’s safe to say that in the singers’ eyes and those of many others, the L.A. Master Chorale “owns” that piece of music. So the excitement of the day was almost palpable: Together in one place were the piece, the composer, and the chorale. The last link in this momentous chain was the audience, who were gathered not because they had nothing to do on that Saturday afternoon or showed up simply to fill the seats they’d purchased in their season ticket package; no, they had come to Disney Hall because they knew the work and were present to hear exactly that.

The atmosphere also was charged because on the program were two world premieres — “In Gratitude,” by Los Angles jazz and classical composer Billy Childs and “Time in Our Voices,” by Moira Smiley — as well as a West Coast premiere of Eric Whitacre’s “I Fall.” Work by Childs, Whitacre and Smiley was especially appropriate because they had befriended or studied with Lauridsen. It seemed to me that this day, too, would go down in the history book of L.A.’s choral music tradition.

One of the “extras” of the day was a pre-concert conversation that took place with Grant Gershon, artistic director of the chorale, Alan Chapman, a DJ with KUSC, and the composer himself. Lauridsen spoke at length about his close collaboration with Salamunovich. In his 2015 article for LMU Magazine, Lauridsen described his weekly meetings with Salamunovich to go over compositions. They worked on several pieces together including Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium.” Paul was expert in sacred Latin liturgy, and Lauridsen composed “Lux Aeterna” inspired by the idea of light—illumination. His mother was dying at the time, he told the Disney Hall audience, and he wanted to compose a piece that would be a source of consolation to himself and others. Consisting of five movements, the piece is, in part, a collection of prayers. Some years later, Lauridsen told the Disney Hall audience, he visited Salamunovich when the conductor was on his deathbed. He softly sang the melody to his friend, who, although mostly motionless, moved his hand in time with the music, perhaps conducting “Lux Aeterna” for the final time.

I attended the event, you could say, because in 2008 I wrote a story about Donald Nores ’52, a businessman and entrepreneur in the Los Angeles area who passed away in June 2016. Nores was a great lover of choral music. Near the end of our phone conversation, I asked, “I’m interested in choral music, but I know nothing about it. Where should I start?” He replied, “Go get the L.A. Master Chorale’s recording of Morten Lauridsen’s ‘Lux Aeterna’ conducted by LMU’s own Paul Salamunovich.” I did so, and I continue to dive down into choral music.

Nores was a member of the Board of Directors of the master chorale, and he supported several LMU programs, including the College of Communication and Fine Arts choral music program. He also was a donor to the Paul Salamunovich and Nanette Salamunovich Goodman Choral Music Scholarship, which continues to benefit students in LMU’s choral music program. Salamunovich’s legacy, then, lives on at LMU. In an odd and wonderful way, I can say that I’m a beneficiary, too.

LMU Magazine Online — The Next Step

December 6, 2016

Nothing gets better that stays the same. For several months, we’ve been working to improve and relaunch the LMU Magazine website that first appeared in July 2010. Our original release was touted for its simplicity, clear lines and easy navigation. While accurate, those qualities didn’t relieve us from the occasional experience of that our hands were tied when it came to presenting some of the most engaging and interesting content. And the old site had a feature or two that never quite took off.

The site you see now is our improved version of LMU Magazine as it exists online. As before, you’ll find not only the stories, photography and illustrations published in the award-winning print version of LMU Magazine but also videos, slideshows and interactive games, along with original content that enables LMU Magazine to address timely subjects that can’t wait on the print publishing schedule. In fact, our new site will render us better able to do justice to the photography for which LMU Magazine has become known.

Since LMU Magazine was unveiled in July 2010, the print publication has earned 40 awards in writing, design, photography and illustration from Graphis, SPD (Society of Publication Designers, UCDA (University and College Designers Association), CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) and JAA (Jesuit Advancement Administrators). The magazine has been featured several times in Communication Arts. In the Graphis and SPD competitions, the magazine has competed against the top marketplace publications in the United States, from the Sunday New York Times Magazine to National Geographic and ESPN The Magazine. In annual CASE Circle of Excellence competitions, LMU Magazine has taken top honors in a category that includes magazines from Dartmouth, Middlebury, Oberlin, Denison and the College of Charleston, as well as institutions in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. We promise to continue to bring to online readers the same quality content that has earned LMU’s flagship publication a reputation as one of the best magazines being produced by a university today.

Please take a moment to browse our new site, take in a video, or mull some current political analysis. Let us know what you think, and thanks for stopping by.

A Ballade in a Minor Key

December 2, 2016

One of the highlights of the academic year for me is a piano recital by Wojciech Kocyan. To hear some of the world’s great music performed live by a virtuoso is a rare opportunity and gift.

Kocyan gave another of his annual concerts this past Saturday evening, on Nov. 19. Murphy Recital Hall was full, and members of the Los Angeles Polish community and his LMU students, who greeted him like a rock star, made up a significant part of the audience.

Born in Poland, Kocyan is clinical assistant professor of music in LMU’s College of Communication and Fine Arts. His is an unassuming title, though it fits Kocyan’s gentle, reflective demeanor. Pass him while walking on campus — wearing an open-collared shirt, corduroys, a satchel slung over his shoulder — and you’d likely guess he’s a grad student. I often think he looks lost in thought, but I imagine he’s lost in sheets and sheets of music. He makes me think that if I had the power to hear people’s thoughts, I’d spend my days at a music conservatory — to eavesdrop on the inspiring scores and compositions coming together in the minds of composers and performers.

Kocyan has performed around the world and conducted master classes in Hungary, Austria, Poland and France. He has recorded several cds, and his DUX cd titled “Skriabin Prokofiew Rachmaninow,” which features his renditions of pieces by Prokofiev, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff, was named one of the 50 best classical recording ever made by Gramophone in 2007. He has won awards in competitions for his performances of the work of Frederick Chopin and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, both fellow Poles. LMU’s clinical assistant professor of music is — it hardly needs to be said — quite accomplished.

I met Kocyan a few years ago, when I interviewed him for LMU Magazine. We met in a student lounge, not his office, and I found that relaxing. I also felt some apprehension: My piano instruction was limited. I studied for six years in elementary school from a retired Catholic nun, then for one more in college in Delaware with an accomplished piano major who was a senior, Chris Williams. In recital, Kocyan is likely to perform a Chopin ballade, one Beethoven’s major sonatas, or a portion of Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards sur L’Enfant Jesus.” These are big, exhausting pieces. My piano career peaked with Beethoven’s Op. 49, No. 2 sonata. I think of it as a piece that child prodigies perfect and leave behind at the age of 4.

Kocyan in his interview was thoughtful and precise. He said the artistry of a piece appeals to him more than its technical difficulty, though he takes satisfaction in performing highly challenging compositions. But I’ll never forget his answer to a question I intentionally closed with: “Is there one composer for whom you have such high regard that you believe your life would be different if he had never lived?” His answer was immediate: Mozart. I wasn’t as much struck by his regard for Mozart as by the fact that Kocyan answered immediately. He didn’t say, “Hmmm, a great question. I’ve never thought about that.” In other words — I’ve decided so, at any rate — for Kocyan the work of his musical predecessors shape his life at its core, and that he is quite aware of it. His present is peopled by figures from the past.

For his recital last week, Kocyan included three large works: Mozart’s Sonata in A minor, Chopin’s Ballade in G minor, and Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata. Chopin is my favorite — that he can convey both intense pain and sublime joy within just one or two measures is exquisite. I’m tempted to fantasize that Kocyan enjoys a subconscious connection to the composer because they are both Poles. But I don’t think so. When I began to learn Beethoven’s straightforward Op. 49, my teacher counseled me to not be discouraged that other students were deep into Beethoven’s “Pathétique” or “Appassionata.” “This is the sonata you are learning now, so learn it to fullest,” she said. “Play it to the best you can.” Kocyan seems always to take a moment of preparation before starting a Chopin ballade; I try to never miss it. Just before he places his fingers on the keyboard, he first looks down at his hands in his lap. It’s only a moment, not even two. Rather than calling on Chopin’s spirit, I imagine that it is, instead, Kocyan calling on his own: It’s a sign of his determination, his promise, to perform the composer’s work as best he can. It strikes me as a sign of his sense of responsibility to the piece, and perhaps to Chopin himself. It’s a moment of commitment. I should ask Kocyan; he would enjoy the question.

Pride and Humility

June 18, 2016
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“Humility,” said T.S. Eliot, “is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of self.”

I think of humility as medication for pride, which is one of the seven deadly sins and maybe the biggest. Pride is a treatable affliction — it can be controlled reasonably well much of the time with humility’s topical ointment. But though humility may be therapeutic when applied to pride, it isn’t an antidote or cure. For most of us, vainglory, as pride is sometimes called, is a chronic, spiritually debilitating condition. What to do? “Exercise your humility regularly and avoid occasions, and near occasions, of tribute (sin)” — it’s easy to imagine a few Sisters of St. Joseph, who taught me in elementary school, admonishing me today with those words.

Despite having said that — Sister St. Dominic, patron saint of my writing career, forgive me for this — let me tell you that LMU Magazine received a bronze award for general excellence earlier this month in a national competition of university magazines. The Circle of Excellence Awards competition is hosted by CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education), a professional association of college and university administrators. Magazines are first sorted by circulation, and our publication competes in the mid-range group — those with a circulation of 30,000–74,999. Judges consider each magazine’s objectives, content, writing, editing, layout and design, print quality, editorial content, photography, illustration, creative story ideas and effectiveness in serving its audience.

We submitted the summer 2014 (“Net Gain”) and winter 2014 (“Intertwined”) issues, and we shared the bronze award with Middlebury Magazine, published by Middlebury College. In their final report, the judges, who are anonymous, said they admired LMU Magazine’s layout, organization and wrap-around covers. Other winners in all three circulation groups included magazines from Johns Hopkins University, Oberlin College, Kenyon College, the University of Richmond, the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of California, Berkeley.

This year’s bronze, combined with last year’s gold in the same competition, marks the second year in a row LMU Magazine has finished in what I’d call a winners’ circle — those given a gold, silver or bronze award. To be so honored has occurred to only a handful of university magazines. That’s recognition our staff is proud of from professional and personal points of view. But I also hope — as a way of moderating my own vainglory — that the LMU community will take appropriate pride in knowing that in any conversation about universities with the best magazine, LMU will be discussed.

The Farm Round-Up

January 25, 2016
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Yesterday, Jan. 24, Brenda (Kirsch) Frketich ’06 was included in a front-page Washington Post story about women farmers. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at LMU and now runs Kirsch Family Farms, which has been in her family for four generations, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Written by Elizabeth Zach, the piece explores a handful of women-operated farms in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, California, Montana, and Oregon.

We did a feature story on Brenda in our winter 2014 issue, written by Marc Covert, a writer who lives in Portland, who visited the property and gave readers an excellent piece full of the day-to-day details of life on a farm. (In fact, it was Marc who gave Elizabeth Zach the tip about Brenda and the Kirsch Family Farms.) We asked Marc to tell Brenda’s story, share the family history, describe well the monumental job that is family farming, touch on Brenda’s role as a leader in the family farming industry, make the readers feel they walked in the furrows, and do it all in only 1,400 words. It’s a masterful piece of writing.

I’ve often told friends of the magazine that some of our best pieces may take many months to go from idea to the press. This one was more than a year in the making, because we knew that the strongest article would have to include on-location, harvest-time photography by LMU Magazine photographer Jon Rou. In fact, we sent Jon to the wheat fields twice.

Take a look at the story, and don’t miss the link in the sidebar to a narrated slideshow featuring Brenda’s commentary and Jon’s amazing photos.

The Skyline and the Man

February 13, 2015
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Today marked the passing of one of the most gracious public figures I have ever met: Stan Chambers. Over the course of six decades, Chambers become a symbol of the news business at its best as well as one of its most admired reporters.

Chambers attended Loyola University for three years and was part of the Air Force ROTC detachment before being instructed to transfer to USC for special courses. In 2008, after his book, “KTLA’s News at 10,” was published, I interviewed Chambers for the summer 2008 issue of the university’s magazine, then known as Vistas. I don’t think I have ever interviewed a more gracious and welcoming person. I met him in the KTLA studios, and he made me feel like I was an honored guest that day. Few people had Stan’s generosity of spirit.

When Maureen Pacino ’93, Glenn Cratty, then the university photographer, and I sat down to conceptualize a photo, we knew we wanted to avoid the predictable environs of a TV studio. Glenn said, “I know just the place: Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. There’s a great view of the skyline from there.” We asked, “How do you know?” Glenn, who now shoots in Colorado, used to scout L.A. in his free time, to build up in his brain a collection of visual backdrops for occasions like this. So we asked Stan to meet us there.

On a blustery afternoon, Stan drove up with his wife, Gege. We asked him to pose in the grass, near the edge of a hillside. The winds were strong enough that all four of us grew colder as the shoot wore on. As you may expect, Stan never complained, though I believe he felt the coldest of all. The shot we came away with is here. What you cannot see is that just to Stan’s left is Maureen on a small ladder directing a portable light on Stan. I’m a foot or two from her, chatting with Stan and trying my best to make the afternoon somewhat pleasurable for him. And Glenn is sprawled on his belly in the grass, some 70 feet away, with a telephoto lens, yelling his instructions to all in a voice loud enough to be heard above the wind. Gege wisely and warmly stayed in the car.

Stan later said that he liked the interview and especially loved the photo. He particularly appreciated that Glenn positioned him so that the tower of City Hall appears just by his right elbow. One of his strongest memories of the L.A. skyline is of how it looked before skyscrapers defined it. City Hall had always been an iconic symbol of Los Angeles to Stan Chambers.

(Photo by Glenn Cratty)

On Merton’s 100th Birthday

January 31, 2015

Today, January 31, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton, monk, writer, poet and peace activist who lead readers to discover faith, to discover Catholicism, simply through his words. James Martin, S.J., editor at large for America Magazine, has described his encounter with Merton through the monk’s autobiography. Martin, in fact, visited LMU in 2011, and I had a chance to interview him. We didn’t discuss Merton, though I’m certain the monk would’ve loved the fact that humor was a focus of the interview.

Martin’s life, and that of many others, was changed by Merton’s autobiography, “The Seven Story Mountain.” I have to confess that I started reading the book — I was in my 20s at the time — but I didn’t finish it. I often have wondered if I should feel ashamed of that, as if it demonstrates a lack of intelligence, or a lack of faith. On the other hand, a biography of Merton that I also began, and finished, at about the same age, is a book I’ve always treasured: “The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton,” by Michael Mott. That volume is where I first read of Merton’s epiphany moment at the corner of 4th and Walnut, during a visit to Louisville:

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness … This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud … I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” (“Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,” by Thomas Merton)

I don’t believe Merton’s insight is only for the mystics, or saints, among us. On a few occasions, usually in cities, I’ve stopped on a corner of an intersection and thought to myself, “Everyone I see is loved. Everyone is redeemable. Wow, I get it. I think I know what Merton meant.” That moment strikes me as the closest we, or I, can come to seeing with God’s eyes. The world’s troubles, in our time as well as Merton’s, are ever-present, unavoidable. For a reason I cannot explain, we seem to need to stop and look for the ever-present good, for what it is that joins us all.

Here is one of my favorite poems by Thomas Merton, written in memory of his younger brother, John Paul Merton, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and died from injuries suffered in a plane crash over the English Channel in April 1943. You can find the poem in “Selected Poems of Thomas Merton,” published by New Directions.

For My Brother: Reported Missing in Action, 1943

Sweet brother, if I do not sleep
My eyes are flowers for your tomb;
And if I cannot eat my bread,
My fasts shall live like willows where you died.
If in the heat I find no water for my thirst,
My thirst shall turn to springs for you, poor traveller.

Where, in what desolate and smokey country,
Lies your poor body, lost and dead?
And in what landscape of disaster
Has your unhappy spirit lost its road?

Come, in my labor find a resting place
And in my sorrows lay your head,
Or rather take my life and blood
And buy yourself a better bed—
Or take my breath and take my death
And buy yourself a better rest.

When all the men of war are shot
And flags have fallen into dust,
Your cross and mine shall tell men still
Christ died on each, for both of us.

For in the wreckage of your April Christ lies slain,
And Christ weeps in the ruins of my spring:
The money of Whose tears shall fall
Into your weak and friendless hand,
And buy you back to your own land:

The silence of Whose tears shall fall
Like bells upon your alien tomb.
Hear them and come: they call you home.

The River Journey of 1959

January 27, 2015
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We learned this week that freelance writer Sandra Millers Younger hauled in an award for LMU Magazine on the strength of her writing. Younger wrote “Operation Huck Finn,” a feature in our fall 2013 issue about a group of students who in 1959 reenacted Huck Finn’s fictional trip down the Mississippi River in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Younger received the bronze award for Best Article of the Year in the 2015 CASE District VII Circle of Excellence Awards. CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) is an international association of educational institutions. District VII is the region that includes institutions from Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Utah.

Part of the story’s attraction, simply as an idea, was the familiarity of its subject matter: Alumni who studied American literature at any point in the past six decades probably read the novel. If they hadn’t, then they probably did in high school. Also, there’s something impulsive about the trip, which likely arose out of the same spirit that makes it hard to resist perfect pranks. Combine that with the students’ meticulous commitment to detail needed to actually plan and organize the trip, and you have a story with timeless appeal and several very sharp hooks.

Younger’s treatment impressed me as soon as I read her draft. Its tone was comfortably both light-hearted and serious, a balance I find very difficult to achieve. She captured the students’ adventurousness: A charismatic professor sought volunteers for a ludicrous idea, and six students raised their hands. How many parents lost sleep during that journey? Also, the group included a Mexican American, Carlos Salazar, and a Japanese American, Alan Kumamoto, both in the class of 1962, and Younger conveyed the undertone of racial tension that they sensed while traveling through some parts of Missouri. Best of all, she introduced into her text short segments of Twain’s novel — Huck’s comments — that helped frame the August 1959 journey. Here’s my favorite:

“It would a been a miserable business to have any unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others.”

I thought that was brilliantly used. Thanks, and congratulations, to Sandra Millers Younger.