Dear LMU—Letters From Our Readers, Winter 2017

I want to thank you for lifting up the brave voice of the anonymous, alternatively-documented alumna (“American Limbo,” Summer 2017). Her courage and commitment to social justice are a testimony to the best qualities LMU should hope to cultivate in its students. I am grateful also that President Snyder has committed to fighting for DACA. And I am especially grateful to the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary for establishing the RSHM Social Justice Endowed Scholarship that provides financial support for these students in need.
Kevin Brown ’08, M.A. ’11
Spokane, Washington

Nice story in LMU Magazine: “What You See” (Summer 2017) by Scott Timberg. I thought it was a great summary of some of the real issues facing journalists and readers and American democracy. I plan to assign it as required reading in my spring 2018 LMU journalism class. When I started the journalism program 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted the level of opposition to the legitimate press we now face, but I’m glad writers like Timberg are addressing it so powerfully. My favorite thing about the piece may be the abundant “(sic)s” you used in quoting Trump. Nice work.
Linda Bannister
LMU Department of English
Los Angeles

Thank you so much for your article on George H. Dunne, S.J. (“The Contester,” Summer 2017). The piece was spot-on and very candid in acknowledging Dunne’s “rebel with a cause” attitude toward the service of faith and the promotion of justice.

When I was a new professor at LMU, another member of my department, Patrick Connolly, gave me a copy of Dunne’s autobiography, “King’s Pawn.” Reading it, I was thrilled by Dunne’s involvement with racial justice and with the film industry studio strikes in the 1940s. As a result of reading “King’s Pawn,” I ended up helping to produce a staged reading a few years ago of Dunne’s play, “Trial by Fire,” which was directed by Mariclare Costello and featured Ron Marasco, recently retired theatre professor and professional actor.

I have been working with a professional illustrator on a graphic novel about Dunne’s life, focusing on the film industry studio strikes. My interest in this conflict is somewhat personal, as both my father and grandfather were members of a local union involved in those labor strikes. While researching the project, I uncovered numerous newspaper articles in which Dunne is prominently mentioned. To my surprise, I also found a couple of small articles that mentioned some of my father’s activities in those strikes.

I was fortunate to have the honor of talking with Dunne in the early 1990s, while he was living at the Jesuit residence at Xavier Hall on LMU’s campus. Even after 50 years had passed, Dunne didn’t have much of anything good to say about the late President Ronald Reagan, who came to visit Dunne on the campus while he, Reagan, was the head of the Screen Actors Guild. Although Dunne initially investigated the strike, he later took a much more active role. And when the leader of the Conference of Studio Unions was kidnapped and beaten, Dunne stepped up and served as a strategist for the conference. Dunne often spoke in support of the CSU at rallies and in large public venues. He attacked the leadership of the Screen Actors Guild for their refusal to support the union, even though many actors in SAG were in complete agreement with Dunne and the CSU.

Father Dunne was decades ahead of his time. He was a great man, one who ultimately sacrificed his own comfort and security in the service of faith and the promotion of justice.
Dean Scheibel
LMU Department of Communication Studies and Director of Interdisciplinary Applied Programs
Los Angeles

I liked “Virtue Reality” (Summer 2017) for several reasons. It was thought-provoking, creatively written in ways that were totally absorbing, educational (I didn’t know, for example, that there are seven corresponding counter virtues or secret perfumistas!), and wonderfully illustrated (including the magazine cover). And, on a more personal note, the piece was the type of art that compelled me to think about myself in different and not-so-flattering ways but also in ways that I could become a better version of myself. For that greater sense of self and freedom, my thanks to all who contributed to the piece.
David Morena M.B.A. ’93
Pacific Palisades, California

I just read your “Tribute to LMU Jesuits” (Summer 2017) and saw the photo of a Jesuit near and dear to my heart. I attended LMU in 1990–94 as a dance major and in 1995–97 as a graduate student in film and television studies. During that time, I took a very challenging and thought-provoking theology class from Thomas P. Rausch, S.J. I remember his lectures as very intellectual, pushing me to dig deep into my own belief system. I never forgot him or his open-minded sense of the Jesuit tradition. When it came time to marry my Jewish fiancé, Marc, we were looking for a rabbi and a priest who would perform the ceremony together in LMU’s Sacred Heart Chapel. I knew that I would need to find a priest who would not only be open-minded but also well-versed in Jewish tradition, and able to embrace the idea of our two faiths being represented equally in the ceremony. Father Rausch was the first person who came to mind, and he not only accepted, but he performed an incredibly beautiful blended ceremony with Rabbi Don Singer that my friends and family still talk about almost 20 years later. A few years later, Father Rausch baptized our first daughter, Emma, also in Sacred Heart chapel. Now, Emma is a year away from attending college herself, and it is no surprise to our family that she is drawn to the Jesuit tradition. She is applying mostly to Jesuit universities (including LMU). The Jesuit tradition is a rich one grounded in education, social justice, thinking critically and helping humanity. I am so blessed to have known a Jesuit who embodied all these qualities.
Lisa Sutton Pollon ’94, ’97
Westlake Village, California

Clarence Wallen, S.J., was a math professor during my years as a math major at LMU. He was a teacher, counselor, spiritual guide and friend to me until the end of his life. Father Wallen was there for me in challenging times during and long after college, always generous with his time, willing to listen and ready with much-needed advice. What a gift he was!
Dave Harrington ’75
Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Thanks for taking time to share a thoughtful perspective on the protest by Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players’ response to comments by Donald Trump (“To Kneel or Not to Kneel,” Conversation with Prof. Shaun Anderson). Having grown up in Las Vegas and lived in the suburbs of St. Louis and Atlanta, I sense this series of events has surfaced a divergence of views among my peers that I actually find productive. We are engaging in conversations as opposed to avoiding a potential conflict. The fundamental issue of inequality still persists, but we are avoiding collective amnesia. I am, however, troubled by the backlash against younger, high school athletes who are being punished for taking a knee. According to a post on MaxPreps, two Houston players were dismissed on the spot after a pregame anthem protest, while others were allowed to respectfully protest by taking a knee or even raising a fist. It would appear that, in some cases, those in power who disagree with the protest are punishing the younger players because they cannot reach the NFL players, perhaps with the exception of Colin Kaepernick. (Yes, I believe he is being punished by the NFL owners who refuse to sign him even as a backup QB.) My sense is that this type of retribution is not new news, but I’m troubled that I’m not hearing more of a pushback against institutions that punish these athletes.
James Evans ’84
Los Angeles

Hey LMU Magazine, we loved your piece by Kirstin Harper-Smith M.B.A. ’15 (“Favorites,” Summer 2017), especially since she named two of our favorite buildings: Wilshire Grand and L.A. City Hall. It was also great reading about a woman in the architecture, engineering and construction industry.
AC Martin Inc.

Let the Cinderella story continue!
Claudia Buckle

Hope Cory Abbott makes it in the MLB draft and to the majors.
James Scott

Abbott was selected in the second round
of the draft by the Chicago Cubs this past June.—The Editor

I still have Dr. Bannister’s letter of recommendation that she wrote for me in ’89, 28 years ago. She was one of those teachers you remember forever!
Anna Verratti ’89

How did I not know Lisa See ’79 is a Lion?
Karl Dandenell

I know what you mean about feeling at home in Chinatown. I feel like that when visiting Little Italy in the Bronx.
Joanne Conte

A photo that appeared on Page 46 of the Summer 2017 issue of John Mullaney Jr. ’65 and Teresa Estrada Mullaney ’70 implied that they were recently married. In fact, the Mullaneys celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2016. We regret the error.—The Editor