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Fall 2015

We asked for your thoughts on the stories in the magazine, and you didn’t disappoint. Here are a few of the letters that we received. We really appreciate hearing your point of view on the stories and news about our University — please, keep ’em coming.  

After reading your incredibly touching story in the WVU Magazine, my husband and I wanted to reach out to [Daniel Brewster]. My husband, Paul Dooley, is a character actor who graduated from WVU many decades ago. When he read your story in the recent issue, he shared it with me immediately. Both of us were deeply touched to learn that our song “For Good” affected your life in such a profound and positive way. I then shared your story with [“Wicked” composer and lyricist] Stephen Schwartz, who was equally moved.

Please know that we’re grateful that you are well and thriving, and that we were able to play a part in that.

With very best “witches” for your continued success, joy and happiness.

Winnie Holzman
co-writer of “Wicked”
Los Angeles, Calif.

I could have overlooked articles featuring the Christian and religious organizations on campus, but if not, it would be refreshing to read about these groups in your magazine. The amount of time and space devoted to the LGBT members was very extensive. 

Statistically, these members comprise less than two percent of the population in the United States. It seems as though you are promoting a lifestyle that is contrary to the majority of the people.

Why not interview some of the dedicated pastors and students who participate in the campus ministries? These individuals provide and exemplify Christ’s love for all his children who are seeking answers and direction in their lives … 

I’m sorry to hear about the harassment and threats imposed on the individuals that were featured in your magazine. No one deserves this type of treatment, nor can it be tolerated.

Jackie Clark
BS ’80, Education
Keyser, W.Va.

I just wanted to let you know that I loved this last (Spring 2015) edition of the magazine. I gobbled it up cover to cover and especially loved the article “After the Storm.” The article “A Future on the Side of Equality” was very thought-provoking as well. I’ll add this magazine to my rotation of WV Living and Morgantown Magazine. Keep up the good work!

Stephanie Snyder
BSN ’09, Nursing
Grafton, W.Va.

As a lesbian and married for 39 years to my wonderful wife, Judy Lawrence, I was thrilled to see the article titled “A Future on the Side of Equality.” We were officially married on our 30th anniversary in Canada. Our son and daughter were there, as was our daughter’s little boy.

I was closeted while getting my master’s degree at WVU in 1971. I loved the program and the professors. However, I am not sure how I would have been treated if they knew I was gay.

After completing my degree, many job opportunities were made available. I am grateful for my education at WVU and was so pleased to see that you have hired a staff member to work on LGBT issues and that there are now LGBT-related courses from different academic departments. You are to be commended.

Patricia Collins
MS ’71, Recreation Administration
‪Rochester, N.Y.

Yayyyy WVU Magazine! I was almost brought to actual tears reading this article about our first openly gay athlete at WVU. What a groundbreaking, trailblazing topic and covered and shared so boldly. It’s my favorite magazine yet, and please keep up the good, progressive work. We dictate and initiate what the rest of the campus, state and society moves toward, and this is on the right side of history, as you wrote. This means a lot to me because of my obvious ex-TV journalism Mountaineer creed but more importantly because I’m a native West Virginian trying to spread this exact message to my very traditional-minded family. Keep up that great work for all of us near and far.

Corie Lynch
BS ’13, Journalism
Gwangju, South Korea

I entered WVU as a freshman in the fall of 1969, along with several friends, one of whom I will call "R." He was my best friend since early childhood. We went to our senior prom together. As that first year of college drew to a close, R told me he thought he "liked guys." We had both been raised in Christian homes, so when he stated he didn't know of anything in the Bible that spoke against homosexuality, I corrected him and found the references (quite a task in the "old days" of no computers or Internet). We remained close as I pursued my education and he found that college was just not for him. I once went to a gay bar with him, joking about which restroom I should use. When we were 36, he called to tell me about a severe episode of pneumonia; even as a physician I did not at the time connect the dots. In his final two years, he came and stayed a week or two with me twice. My toddler son called him "Unca R." He died peacefully at his parents' house at the age of 38. I still miss him terribly, 26 years later.

A wise person told me that "Conservatives see individuals; liberals see groups based on what divides us." This is, to me, the best defining difference. The point is that I loved this person like a brother and best friend, but I will never put my stamp of approval on his lifestyle. The militant agenda of a small fraction of homosexuals to force me to give them my approval is disgusting and is anti-American and anti-freedom. (A psychologist might say it's a way to deal with repressed guilt.)

When did we become a country of thin-skinned people offended by everything and everyone, unable to voice our personal beliefs without fear of blowback, patrolled by thought police, forced to participate in ceremonies we consider contrary to God's law? He defined marriage, and no human law will change that. I shudder as I recall two books I read in high school: "Brave New World" and "1984." The combination is horrifying, but as technology advances and man's inhumanity to man increases, it seems that is our world.
This will not appear in print, I have no doubt, as it is the antithesis of "political correctness." Even typing that term makes me nauseous. Please cancel my subscription to the magazine.

Patricia R. Evans
BS ’73, MD ’78
Kingman, Ariz.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the latest issue that focused on WVU LGBT Mountaineers! It was very well done and showcased the hard working, dedicated and decent human beings of the LGBT Mountaineer community. It is very nice to see that WVU welcomes the diversity spectrum and is continuing to make WVU a safe and accepting campus. Kudos to all involved!
Catherine Massey
MA ’98, Psychology, PhD ’00, Psychology
Slippery Rock, Pa.
I received my magazine in the mail today and immediately flipped to your cover story on LGBT issues on campus. As I read through it, I had to put it down several times because I was so overcome with emotion. I became particularly teary reading the portion of the story about Alex Obendorf's flurry of emails and Facebook messages – not a one of which was negative. My social media feeds have been full of hateful and ignorant responses to Caitlyn Jenner "coming out" in Vanity Fair this week. It was so refreshing to read about the campus response to Obendorf. It made me proud to be a Mountaineer! I hope that the students who were hateful to Brewster interact with their peers and learn to be more accepting and responsible citizens of the world.
Jaime Hunt
MS, ’11, Integrated Marketing Communications
Blacksburg, Va.
I am writing to express my disappointment and disgust at several aspects of the "A Future on the Side of Equality" article in the last edition. Being a mid-’70s graduate I guess I'm becoming somewhat of a dinosaur in my view of social mores but I also thought that my recently ended 39-year career in public education had kept me abreast of current thought about recent social behavior in young people.

I must say I was shocked at the treatment that Mr. Daniel Brewster was subjected to from some of his students both in the classroom and on campus.  It seems that at least in the behaviors of those students, acceptance and tolerance have regressed since my time on campus. During 1971 to 1975, I encountered several instructors and professors who were obviously gay or lesbian although those terms were not the norm in describing their lifestyles at the time. It was never a public announcement, but we were perceptive enough to understand their situation. I encountered both excellent and poor teachers among this group but one thing I never experienced was blatant outward disrespect toward them based on their orientation. It seems that most of us respected their knowledge and academic achievements ahead of their social lives. I "rated" my instructors on the command of the subject matter and their abilities to get me to understand what was to be taught.

Like any student I had instructors who went above and beyond what was required of them to help me and for many years remain "go-to" people who have helped in my career. It pains me to think that students could judge a person’s worth based on one aspect of their personalities and ignore the benefits that the teacher/student relationship provides.

I am encouraged at the steps being taken by the University and agree that WVU has a responsibility to influence moral values on campus. It's just a shame that in today's society it is necessary to do so. We should be better.

Thomas Frazer
BM '75, Music
Sebring, Fla.
I was delighted to see the cover feature, "A Future on the Side of Equality."  But when, just a few paragraphs in, the writer used the phrase sexual "preference" in referring to Mr. Obendorf's sexual orientation, I was dismayed and disappointed. Seriously? Not a good start if the objective is to show WVU coming out of the dark ages.

Jim Showen
JD ’79, Law
Washington, D.C.
We’re listening. You are our greatest voice. So use it. Use this form to send us story ideas, letters to the editor, questions for a future guest on Ask an Expert, memories for the Flashback section or tales for the Alumni Diary.

You Tell Us Archive

Fall 2014

Here’s what our readers have to say about their University and WVU Magazine.

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Fall 2015

Many WVU Magazine readers had plenty to say about our cover story "A Future on the Side of Equality."

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Fall 2016

You shared your memories of the Mountaineer Marching Band and were touched by the story of Margie Mason, a journalist who helped to free more than 2,000 people from slavery.

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Fall 2017

You gave us feedback on WVU at 150 and shared us more fond memories of Arnold Hall.

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Spring 2015

Everyone had a lot to say, from insights about last issue’s cover story “Where We Go From Here” to thoughts on our new design.

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Spring 2016

You had touching stories about your own health after our cover story on stroke and you had lots of fond memories about the Evansdale campus in response to the Flashback photo from the late 1960s.

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Spring 2017

We love hearing from you. Readers in this edition shared touching notes about "Guarding the Nation's Tomb" and the Mountaineer Marching Band.

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Summer 2016

Readers were delighted with the research issue's coverage of art and science, and had some pointed comments on the Volkswagen emissions scandal story.

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Summer 2017

You responded to our stories on new industry in Appalachia, Mother Jones and breast cancer breakthroughs. And you had a lot to share about Arnold Hall.

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