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The Rick Welts Story

I enjoy Columns but I believe the article on Rick Welts (Out in the Open, September) was inappropriate.

I’m not against homosexuals but I don’t want to read about someone’s sexual preference. The choice of that subject matter for a fine University magazine was a big mistake in my view.

Robert Hale, b.s., ’51, M.S., ’60
Carlsbad, Calif.

Since graduating UW in 1987 and moving to Los Angeles in 1992 to become an attorney, I have long felt disconnected from my UW roots. Partly, it was because I did not often see my life as an out and proud gay man reflected in the alumni literature. Your article in the September issue on Rick Welts changed that.

Mr. Welts is a courageous and admirable man who represents everything that a proud, gay alumnus would want to see profiled in your magazine. I was so moved by the caring way his story was told by Columns and was particularly impressed by the compassion that informed the discussion of Mr. Welts’ relationship with—and the tragic death of—L. Arnie Chinn.

I was so moved, in fact, that I intend to make a donation to the L. Arnie Chinn Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund—what may well be my very first donation to the University.

Converting a distant alumnus into a donor and attentive reader of Columns may not have been your intention when you included this wonderful profile of Mr. Welts, but you mostly certainly did. Thank you.

Jeffrey W. Erdman, B.A., ’87
Los Angeles

Mueller’s Mark

There is one more Husky who should definitely be recognized for his key contribution to the success of the Space Shuttle program. The late Dr. James I. Mueller, who directed the UW Ceramic Engineering Department for many years, starting in the late 1940s, developed or was intimately involved with the development of the heat-shield tiles, which covered the bellies of the spacecrafts.

John Horsfall, B.S., ’50, M.S., ’52
Clyde Hill

Ripples From The Wave

In the last issue, you noted (After the Whistle, September) that Robb Weller, ’72, started the Wave in 1981. I believe if you check your records, you will find that the Wave was actually started by then-cheerleader Weller in 1971.

The reason I know this is because I was a UW freshman in 1971. My Delta Chi fraternity brothers and I would go to games early just to see Robb’s “stand-up” routines.

I was at the ball game that freshman year where he started his experiment, the Wave.  It quickly caught on nationally.

Kevin Thoms, ’75
Katy, Texas

Brewster Denny

If any one person deserves to be noted and honored at our 150th anniversary, it is Brewster Denny, ’45, for his lifetime of public service (Denny’s Legacy, September).

He devoted his talents to Roosevelt High School, the University of Washington, U.S. Navy, national and state governments and other good causes too numerous to mention. Of course the University of Washington is forever indebted to his family for the gift of land that keeps on giving to our alma mater.

Lois Lee Horn, ’44, ’52

CORRECTION The names of the couple from Oak Harbor who died in the Sept. 12, 2001 plane crash in Mexico were Dwight and Lois Mitchell. Columns regrets the error, which appeared in the September issue.

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2 Responses to Letters

  1. Michael D. Brownell, MPA '69, Colonel, US Army (Ret.) says:

    I would like to echo the accolades given to Brewster Denny by Lois Lee Horn and add that he was the founder of the Graduate School of Public Affairs (now the Evans School) and is a UW Professor and Dean Emeritus. His has been a most distinguished career.

  2. Daryl Smith says:

    Rick Welts Story

    I was surprised to open my edition of the Columns dated September 2011 and find an article celebrating the lifestyle of homosexuality.

    Traditionally, our culture has celebrated marriage as it is the foundation for our society. Given this new precedent of the magazine celebrating sexual behavior outside of marriage you will owe it to your readers in future editions to highlight graduates who celebrate openly adulterous lifestyles, those single graduates who regularly practice and promote fornication and finally to spotlight graduates who celebrate polygamous relationships. This approach will be demanded in order to be consistent and fair as you celebrate all sexual behaviors in your features. The other alternative is to focus your articles on non sexual matters.

    I genuinely feel for those featured in your articles. It would be tough to live with attractions to the same sex. The battles would be constant. This is help and counseling for those desiring help with those battles and the behaviors that can lead to. Behaviors that can tragically have grave consequences, as they sadly did for Mr. Chinn.

    Finally, it would be helpful to note that all of your readers (including myself) have urges and desires, some of which are not healthy for us to express. We sometimes need help outside of ourselves to overcome these urges. Fortunately, that help is available

    Daryl Smith PhD Class of 1999

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