Sunday, May 10, 2009

Who Needs Homecoming to Revisit College—There are plenty of better opportunities!

Photos by Bob Rucker, one of my former professors at SJSU:
The fellow in blue is Dwight Bentel’s older brother—yes, OLDER. One hundred four, to be exact.
Dr. Dwight Bentel blows out the candles on his birthday cake.

I am neglecting this blog again—when I get work thrown my way, I take it, and I do it as quickly as possible so I can get MORE work as it comes available. In the summertime, we tend to get a lot of completed publications; our writers are academics and of course an academic is most productive during breaks—publications are often completed over summer vacation and winter break. But I have been doing some other things … like attend the reception for Dr. Dwight Bentel.

I’ve not strayed terribly far from San José State University following my graduation in May 2000. I returned as an older adult student in the fall of 1998, and kept myself on track for four semesters and one winter session in order to graduate on time. My coursework was challenging but not as difficult as my nursing classes in community college at the end of the 1970s, into the early 1980s.

I have found myself on campus from time to time when I did some work for the director of the Journalism and Mass Communications department. Up until April 23 I’d resisted attending any departmental fund raising efforts, not because I didn’t care, but more because I didn’t have the money. I couldn’t resist attending an event last night though… how often do you get to see an actual living, breathing person that was important enough to a university to have a building named after him? The “party” was a 100th birthday bash for the JMC’s department founder, Dwight Bentel. Bentel also founded the university’s newspaper, the Spartan Daily. SJSU’s journalism building is named Dwight Bentel Hall (DBH for short). There were events in the department all day, the theme being “Visual Journalism Day.”

Bentel is a journalist and photographer. For a 100-year old guy, he does pretty darn well. He’s ambulatory, and his caretaker says she doesn’t have to do anything around the house, that he does his own laundry, cooks and cleans. I suppose she’s around to drive for him, because some of his former co-workers who spoke last night claimed he was a scary driver—nothing got in his way in his quest to travel from Point A to Point B.

You can learn more about him here: A Pioneering Journalism Educator—and 'E&P' Writer—Hits Age 100

Also in attendance was his older brother, all of 102 years of age.

It was very nice to see some of my former professors that I’ve not seen in the past few years. Most remember me. Most complemented me on my darker hair color. I did go out of my way to thank my magazine journalism editor—because of three semesters with him, I work as an editor. I’d rather be a writer, but a buck is a buck!

Probably one of the funniest things that happened was the singing of the SJSU song. There’s an SJSU song? I had no idea. It sucked and has lyrics like “Hail Spartans! Hail SJSU!” Very inspiring—NOT!

Anyway, people who graduated anywhere from the 1950s into the 1970s (including what would have been my graduating class had I stuck with it, 1978) knew that gone. A couple of them were disgusted I had no idea about the melody or words (they passed out a paper that had the words), and they asked “How can you not know this?” “I came here to learn journalism and public relations, not how to sing some dumb school song.” “It’s not dumb. If you’d gone to football games, you would have learned it.”

BFD. I think I did fine without it. Besides, the song was written in 1933 and it in gross need of updating.

I didn’t attend this soirée alone—I dragged along one of my classmates, Patricia, one of two of my friends who are as conservative as I am. Patricia, Sean and I could be counted on to get into political arguments in most any class we took. Last night it was the same old thing, minus Sean, who is living in Portland, Oregon.

While at SJSU we took plenty of heat for being conservatives during the reign of Bill Clinton. We three were the only ones who laughed during Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, which were widely broadcast throughout the journalism building (the main lecture hall, when not in use, had the trial up on a big screen television, and students came and went as they wished) and who thought he deserved to be impeached. Most of our professors couldn’t understand why we’d ever not be supportive of anything Clinton had ever done. One proudly displayed a photo taken of herself and her husband with Bill Clinton at one of Clinton’s inaugural balls. She was horrified to learn I had not voted for Clinton, would never vote for Clinton, was against most policies put forth by the Democratic party. “You voted for Dole?” she said to me, horrified. “You plan to vote for a Republican in the fall of 2000? I am so shocked and disappointed in you.”

Here is my point: is there such thing as a conservative educator? Other than attending a Baptist university in the deep south, are there any colleges or universities that embrace a conservative slant? The private university I attended for my master’s degree, a Jesuit university, of course toed the Catholic churches’ values, yet its outlook was as liberal as anything. Why is it so wrong to promote a conservative agenda?

Is it possible to be a compassionate conservative in education? We believe in opportunity but we also believe that you need to earn that opportunity, not just have it handed to you based on the fact you are alive and breathing. We believe in personal accountability—that there is honor in paying for our education and in the accomplishments we work for while working for anything, be it a degree or our careers. There is nothing racist in those statements—why am I accused of being racist because I’m conservative?


Des said...

This is a repeat post?

Red Wings warmin' up, the hated Ducks headed to the golf course (where the Sharks are now on their 57th round of 18). I hope you're well Cathy, I respect your opinions because they're a direct product of experience and empiricism; not concocted in the half-dead brain of a typical university professor uber-liberal know-it-all.

CaliGirl9 said...

I removed it after you reminded me—I was looking for photos of the event so decided to repost! 100 year old... just wow!!

I expect Anaheim will win tomorrow night (game 6) but all bets are off for game 7. Getzlaf was sicker than a dying dog yesterday. I bet the Ducks send him to a faith healer/witch doctor/any alternative medicine practitioner they can find to cure his big strong Sask butt!

Des, there's a State of the Sharks meeting on Thursday night, 7 to 9, at the Arena. Players in attendance are both Joes and Dan Boyle, the only SJ player to play every 2009 playoff game. I considered attending but I have a feeling the timing is all about an announcement about an increase in STH prices, because "they want to put the best product out there."

Notice Marleau isn't among the speakers. Wishful thinking on my part perhaps—perhaps the writing is on the wall and it's time for a HUGE change?

I could be happy about that. I'm already happy about Torrey Mitchell being back ...

Off to work to the liberal thinktank that is SJSU and MTI. Whoo-hoo, but it's a buck!

Thanks for your kind words and hang in there, Des. 2010 is on its way and I am counting on some regions of the state to vote their democratic incumbents out of office. Of course nothing will change here in the Bay Area, if you are a dem you are golden. I plan to support Susan Hammer for supervisor if she decides to run—SC county needs a bit of fiscal conservatism don't you think?

Muzik Girl said...

Thanks for reminding me that I'm one of the few sane ones left in this town. The event was fun, even with all the commies. Ha Ha j/k Thank you for "dragging" me along. It was my pleasure to hang with you.

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