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The North Texan welcomes letters from alumni and friends. Send letters, with writer's full name and address, to

The North Texan, University of North Texas,
Office of University Communications and Marketing,
P.O. Box 311070,
Denton, Texas 76203-1070.

Letters may also be sent via Internet to or submitted on this page. Letters may be edited for length and publication style.


Fledgling status?

Relegating the North Texas jazz studies program to fledgling status in 1959, as done in the fall North Texan, page 9, reflects inexcusable ignorance of the program or a deliberate attempt to distort history. In either case, it defames the late M.E. “Gene” Hall, who founded the program in 1947 and directed it to national prominence by 1959, when it was widely acknowledged as the premier jazz studies program in the nation.

Hall received the North Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1987, partially in recognition of his founding of the jazz program, which by 1959 had brought unprecedented favorable attention to the university. To call it fledgling is derogatory and preposterous.

William W. Collins
Jr. (’37, ’38 M.A.)
Fort Worth

Editor’s note: We agree about the important contributions of Gene Hall. The word “fledgling” was used to describe the program in an academic sense. In 1947 the public and the college were not ready to associate the word “jazz” with a college degree. Jazz had to earn its place in academia through the creativity, enthusiasm and tenacity of people who believed in it, like Hall. Through his hard work and vision, he established a music program the likes of which the world had never seen, opening the way for his old friend Leon Breeden to make jazz education accepted.


Schoolhouse fun

Thanks for bringing back many Saturday morning memories with the cover story on Bob Dorough and Schoolhouse Rock (summer ’01). I thoroughly enjoyed that piece and laud the magazine for featuring a fun article center stage. Keep up the great work!

Susan Budilovsky


After reading the cover story, I felt compelled to write. To this day, Schoolhouse Rock jingles bring a smile to my face as I remember the numerous tests and quizzes I aced because of lyrics like “Conjunction junction” and “I’m just a bill” running through my head.

As children, my brother and I would watch Saturday morning cartoons like so many of our friends, unaware of the impact the words and tunes would have on our learning curve. The first time I remember using the jingles from SHR was when my sixth-grade English teacher at Newton Rayzor Elementary School assigned reciting the Preamble. Wow, no sweat! I already knew it, as did most of my classmates.

A couple of years ago while I was teaching at a middle school in Garland, a student was having trouble memorizing the Preamble. I told her to sing the jingle, assuming she had heard the SHR snippets when she was younger. She looked at me as if I had lost my mind when I started singing the first few bars. That was when I realized that SHR was not broadcast during Saturday morning cartoons when it would have influenced her most. How sad, I thought, knowing that she, along with so many of her classmates, wouldn’t be given the same edge we were given. I’m glad to see it back on the air and videos sold of this very worthwhile TV viewing!

Rebecca Savage
(attended ’86-’89)


Perspective on the U.S. terrorist attacks from an American in Europe

Living in Europe during this tragedy, I have been given the unique opportunity to see these events, and the response of our allies, from a perspective most likely quite different from that which you have viewed the events of the last week. It seemed appropriate (and I will also admit therapeutic) to write and share with you some of what I have experienced in the days since Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

I learned of the events while in our office in Grace-Hollogne, Belgium. At that time, and throughout the rest of the week, I was the only American in the office. Immediately following news of the attack, various co-workers (Dutch, Belgian and British) expressed shock, concern and anger at the attack. And, even early on, they mutually expressed the desire, the requirement, that their respective governments side with the United States in response.

On Friday, our office respected the pan-European three minutes of silence in memory of the victims of this tragedy. In addition, I even had European customers with whom I was scheduled to talk on Friday leave me voicemails in which they stated, "Call anytime today, except at noon, as our office will be participating in the three minutes of silence for the victims of the attacks in the United States." This gave to me a feeling that these events truly have pulled together people of all countries.

In visiting with my managing director (who is British) Friday afternoon, he mentioned how he truly felt our moment of silence touched the staff in our office. I asked if this was simply the line they towed when I was around, or if they really felt united in and affected by the U.S events. He assured me it was the latter. He had "water cooler" discussions with a large group of our European office, and each of them, to the number, stated that they are one with the United States in this.

Friday evening I attended a show of respect for victims of the tragedy. It started in the Vrijthof, which is the large city centre in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Beginning at 6 o'clock, a very large group began walking a pre-described route through the city. In the background, the church bells tolled non-stop through the entire walk, which took about 30 minutes. The walk ended in one of the courtyards in the city. A large crowd gathered near the front of the courtyard. I worked my way to the front. There I found the area where the hundreds of those present had brought flowers, dolls, teddy bears, writings, pictures and anything else they felt appropriate. As I looked at this site, I began crying. Emotions running through me, I wanted to be with my country. After some time, a Dutch guy, about my age, put his arm around my shoulder and simply hugged me. I finally looked up and told him, "I am so proud to be from America, but it is so hard sometimes." With that he realized I was from the States. With a sweep of his hand to illustrate all of the outpouring of support, he told me, "You can see you are not alone. We are with you." He was so sincere. As I left, he looked at me and said simply, "God bless."

Saturday morning our neighbor and landlord brought to us an arrangement of flowers. With it was a note that truly touched our hearts:

"For you, your family and all the Americans which are suffering these days. They hit a tower, but they never can hit your spirit. Remember we will always stand behind you and your family."

Later Saturday, our family felt the need to do something, anything, that would give us some link with our country. We took a bouquet of roses to the American cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands. Immediately in front of the field of white crosses was a large wreath, under which were several flowers. I cried as I read a note that had been placed at the center of the mound of flowers. It read:

"57 years ago you came to help us. Now we support the American people to cope with their sorrow. God bless you America."

I will never forget reading those words. No one made that family leave that note. It was not done for the benefit of television cameras or political gain. It was simply a sincere expression of thanks and condolence. And I feel that it echoes the sentiments of the vast majority of Europeans here.

Sunday, we attended services where we normally do, at the Allied Forces base in Brunssum, The Netherlands. The impact of the attack was evident. We had to go through much more stringent checks to get onto the base. First, your name had to be on a visitor list. Second, your automobile was thoroughly searched, including engine checks, trunk checks and the use of mirrors to look at the under-carriage of each vehicle. Inside the chapel, it was an honor to attend service with the men and women of our armed forces, who President Bush has told to "Get ready." They had a sense of concern for the past as much as for the future. Many of them knew victims of the Pentagon assault. However, most of all, they were proud to be the defenders of the greatest nation on earth. That pride showed through in the prayer requests, the hymns, Scripture readings and sermon. I was so proud to be among that group.

After services, we visited another American cemetery — this one in Henri Chapelle, Belgium. Again, we found flowers brought in remembrance of the victims of the tragedy. Through tears, I stood and watched an older man. He was staring out across a field of crosses, each representing an American life lost in support of freedom. He stared at a flag flying at half mast. He had tears streaming down his cheeks. I gathered that although he was sad, he was proud. Proud to be part of a nation that has so very much to be proud of. Watching that man is another sight I will never forget.

These past weeks have brought disbelief, sorrow, pain and anger. However, they have also brought an understanding that our European allies are with us, from the prime ministers on screen to the working men and women I have met. They feel the pain of this act and see it as an act against freedom. And they truly have a heartfelt desire to stand by our side. We are not alone in this. Trust me.

J. Brad Moss ('87)
Teuven, Belgium


Sky’s the limit

I read The North Texan from cover to cover. I really think you do a great job publishing!

I am one of eight children in my family to receive a degree from North Texas. Please keep sending The North Texan to me. I am 85 years young, and when I reach 100, I am going skydiving.

Mary Ann Wright
(’38, ’58 M.S.)


Extra long shelf life

While cleaning out my garage last year, I found the 1968 summer issue of The North Texan. I enjoyed reading the issue all over again, especially the story about biotelemetry research. Thanks.

Madge W.
Hunt (’60)



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