Last Updated February 13, 2001
Kudos for Kildall
Looked in mail last night..found Columns and when I saw the cover I wondered if (by any chance) you had included my brother in your list. Was I happy when I saw his name and picture in the listing! Gary Kildall deserves a lot more credit than he gets for being the "father of the PC" as we know it today. As almost no one knows, Bill Gates would not (by any stretch of the imagination) be the billionaire he is. That distinction would belong to Gary who invented CPMthe operating system that runs all of our computers even today. Gates bought CPM's clone (from Seattle Computer, who never even paid Gary for it) for a mere $50K and changed its name. Underneath the "Windows" platform we are all so familiar with is CPM DOS (now called MSDOS). Anyway its a long, involved storyone that will never likely surface to show the true genius behind every PC sitting on our desks/offices. I'm so glad the Alumni Association finally gave credit where it is due. Thank you, thank you!!
Pat Kildall Guberlet, '79, Seattle
I also wanted to add that your selection of Christine Gregoire as one of the 100 top alums was a poor one. She merely rode the wave of anti-tobacco and politically helped removed $208 billion from the tobacco companies. All she and the other attorneys did was "take" and didn't create anything.
Martin Rood, '75, Seattle
Leaving a Legacy?
The December 1999 Columns "100 Alumni of the Century" includes John Carlson ('81), crediting him with leading "three statewide initiative campaigns, including ... I-200 [the] anti-affirmative action initiative."
The same issue of Columns informs us that the 1999-2000 freshmen class (the first class since the initiative took effect) has "a 33 percent decline in African Americans, a 23 percent drop in Native Americans and a 33 percent drop in Latinos."
UW Director of Admissions W.W. "Tim" Washburn cautions that "this is really just the first impact. The trend will be reflected in the classes three to four years from now."
Mr. Carlson has left a legacy for his alma mater.
Duane Wright, '90, Seattle
Jon Carlson, '81
I'll Never Read Columns Again
I didn't renew my membership to the UW Alumni Association. Please take my name off your mailing list and computer. Don't send me any more information.
The reason I quit the alumni association was because I was so disgusted with the magazine article, "100 Alumni of the Century," Dec. 1999, where you named John Carlson as an important person who had graduated from the University of Washington. Supposedly he was one of the 100 important people who had accomplished a lot since graduation. There are thousands of UW alumni who have done many beneficial deeds and provide excellent services to everyone in the fields of science, education, law, environment, engineering, medicine, nursing, forestry, etc. They have improved the lives of many people in the United States and around the world. And yet you chose John Carlson, whose only claim to fame was being a talk show host on KVI and having written several initiatives. He has spent his time pushing his own agenda. I am sure he was planning to run for Washington state Governor then. He used your organization to do that and promote himself as being an outstanding UW alumnus, which he included in his campaign brochure.
How much did he pay you for the alumni nomination? He certainly didn't deserve to be one of the 100 nominees. I don't know who wrote the article or how the 100 people were chosen for this honor but you surely made a mistake in choosing him. ... I am sure that many alumni felt the same way I did after reading the magazine article. I didn't want to read the alumni magazine again.
Carolyn Cosgrove, '49, Auburn
A Slap in the Face
As an alumnus of color at the University of Washington, seeing John Carlson listed among the 100 Alumni of the Century in the University of Washington Alumni Magazine, Columns, is like a slap in the face. I-200 and his leadership of that movement pushed diversity at the University of Washington back 30 years. What's so great about that? He certainly does not deserve recognition in the alumni magazine among the 100 alumni of the century. It certainly makes me think twice about joining an alumni association that is insensitive to women and people of color. Shame on Columns!
David Lee, '99, Seattle
The December 1999 issue of Columns, The University of Washington Alumni Magazine included "100 Alumni of the Century." I was pleased that you recognized the outstanding accomplishments of Washington's racial and ethnic minorities. I was, however, surprised that "faculty, administrators and alumni" chose to honor John Carlson whose chief distinction seems to be that he led a successful initiative to eliminate affirmative action in the state.
Closing the education door through which so many people have moved from ghetto to mainstream may have been difficult, but it is unusual that a University would honor it. I noted, elsewhere in your magazine, that freshman enrollment rose from 4,219 to 4,515 but African American and Native American enrollment dropped by 23% and 33% respectively, in the first year after the success of Carlson's initiative. Your December issue also included a fine article on black history professor Quintard Taylor -- who appears to have benefited from affirmative action and other civil rights programs. When asked about the elimination of affirmative action Taylor stated, "If I have learned anything in my study of history, I've learned that you can't reverse time. America will not go back to the 1950s."
Perhaps. But history shows that there can be temporary setbacks. Consider Alumni of the Century winner and Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos. After decades of contribution to German society, five or six million members of his ethnic group took a step backward into the death camps. Taylor might also consider awardee, Gordon Hirabayashi who was tried, convicted and imprisoned (along with thousands of other Japanese Americans) in the 1940s for the soul crime of being born of Japanese parents.
Millard Johnson, '68, '69, Zionsville, Ind.
Editor's Note: The unofficial list of 100 alumni of the century was not an honor bestowed by the University of Washington. It was a list of the most famous, fascinating and influential alumni of the century chosen by the editors of the magazine.
Brock Deserves Better
You deserve admiring recognition for even attempting "Alumni of the Century." What guts! I know little about the show business people or even the athletes, but I have worked for, with or around most major politicians for the last half-century. At one time or another I was a media adviser/press secretary to Governor Albert D. Rosellini and Senator Brock Adams, not to mention Mayor Wes Uhlman. My memory fails me as to whether Wes is even a UW alum, but the governor and especially Brock have been so closely associated with the university over such a period that their absence from your list is truly astonishing. I must have done a lousy job of heralding their impressive achievements.
The just deceased President Charles Odegaard called Rosellini the best governor in his experience. So did the late Don Hannula, a highly regarded Seattle Times editorial columnist. Just read the UW Press book about Governor Al written by attorney Payton Smith.
Adams had a truly remarkable career, seriously jeopardizing his own political future by crossing Henry Jackson on the wisdom or even necessity of our involvement in the Viet Nam war. From the time of his first election to Congress in 1964, Brock urged that we declare victory and get out. Jackson never forgave him. Your best choice, Warren G. Magnuson, agreed with his protege Adams but would not add to the troubles of close friend Lyndon Johnson nor cross colleague Henry Jackson. Magnuson and Jackson were never really friends in any true meaning of that word, but they did enjoy an effective working relationship. Read Shelby Scates' outstanding book about Magnuson.
Adams' strong involvement with and support of the University alone might have placed him on your list. But he did so much more with his life--strengthening the congressional budget office and serving as the first chair of the House budget committee that reformed congressional spending habits, salvaging the railroad industry, moving cautiously but firmly on airline deregulation and safety, to name a few issues where his leadership really counted. Soon after the Seattle Times destroyed Brock with its nameless sources, I had a conversation with Mary Maxwell Gates, his UW classmate, friend and ASUW secretary when Brock was ASUW president. Were she still alive, I believe Mary would wholeheartedly agree with my assessment here.
David G. Wood, '52, Shelton
Pans for Your Picks
We read with interest about your picks of the "100 Alumni of the Century." Most we agreed with. A few were borderline. Then there was the glaring omission. Your 'veteran' alumni and retired faculty advisors all erred egregiously by forgetting one of your most distinguished alumni in favor of some people who didn't even graduate from the U.
But first, the glaring omission, namely: Former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Brock Adams, '49.
He was graduated summa cum laude in economics and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Get this: he was a Trustee of the University of Washington Alumni Association! (How soon they forget.) He was graduated from Harvard Law School. Later he became U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington. Then came Congress. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964. Then he was appointed U.S. Secretary of Transportation by President Jimmy Carter. Then he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
His civic honors are legion. You will find them listed in his bio in the Congressional Directory for any of the years during which he served in Congress: Distinguished Service Award, Junior Chamber of Commerce; Trustee, Neighborhood Settlement House; etc.
Dawn Wells, '60
Dawn Wells? Please. She was an ingenue in a sit com. How can she, or Dyan Cannon, a television and movie actress who never was graduated from the U, rank above so distinguished an alum as Brock Adams? The credentials of some of your other picks also are suspect, Ivar Haglund for one. You listed several other distinguished members of the dramatic arts professions, so Ms. Cannon's name is superfluous as 'balance.' Haglund was an engaging character and successful entrepreneur, but.....?
You certainly cannot plead ignorance of Brock's achievements. Dick Larsen, whom you cite as one of the people you turned to for advice, knew Brock well. Dick was among a bunch of us who traveled back to Washington, D.C. after the election sweep of 1964. Dick was on Tom Foley's staff. I (Len Saari) was on Brock's staff. We all, members and staffs of the entire Washington State Congressional delegation, worked together under the leadership of "Maggie" and "Scoop" for years.
By any standard we know, Brock deserves a place among the 100 Alumni of the Century. We submit that you should make a special effort to correct the omission in your next edition.
Len and Ruth Saari, '51, Sun City West, Ariz.
You omitted a person who I think should have been included. Irving Shain, a UW B.S. and Ph.D. about 1950, was professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a key figure in the field of electrochemistry in the 1950s and1960s. He is the author of one of the all-time, most-cited journal papers, as measured by Citation Index. He was a great teacher and lucid speaker. He later became chancellor of UW and Wisconsin, and during the Viet Nam protests of the early 1970s at the latter institution, he had to handle the student unrest and a bombing at the mathematics center. Even in your category of educators, Dr. Shain stands out.
Jack Harrar, '58, Castro Valley, Calif.
Many Deserve Better
As a twice grad of the UW, BA and BFA, Professional Actor Training Program, I find questionable your list of 100 alumni. I have a feeling donations made a difference.
You have Norm Rice, who fought against renters' rights. You have Dawn Wells with three years on a sit-com, and Patrick Duffy with Dyan Cannon and Bruce Lee. Only Dyan and Bruce belong there.
You ignore mainstays of Seattle theatre: John Alyward, John Gilbert, Lee Shallat (now a very successful director of many top rated sit-comes), Larry Ballard, John Kaufman, Jean Smart, Norm Langill (the force behind Bumbershoot), Linda Hartzel, (who has accomplished incredible success with Seattle Children's Theatre) and Robert Culp, to name a few.
When asked to give money, I did, and now I don't as there are many other places to give help to people directly who need food and clothing. Did anyone ask before seeing Hec Edmondson's name sold for millions [to see] if it was right? No. Should taxpayers have had the choice? Yes.
You will probably shove this complaint aside, but many grads know the truth. Many grads from many departments deserve better.
Jerry Brinkman, '71, Seattle
Didn't Graduate? Don't Belong
You are eight shy of naming 100 distinguished alumni since eight people didn't think enough of the University's education to stay and graduate. An alumnus who didn't graduate is an undistinguished alumnus, no matter what else they did afterward. It is insulting to those truly distinguished alumni who thought enough of their education at the University to complete it before moving on to greater things. Some even collected more than one degree. I think distinguished alumni should do more than attend some classes at the UW and then become famous or notorious. Distinguished alumni should represent a higher standard than that.
Dale L. Jenson, '56, Lawndale, Calif.
Your "100" list neglected Scott Crossfield. He graduated in the late 40s (including a master's degree) and was chief test pilot for NASA and North American Aviation. He was the first man to fly Mach2 and flew the X-15. He contributed greatly to air transportation as we know it today and was on the cover of Time and many others. I cannot believe that you could have left this man off your list, especially in comparison to some of the nobodies on your list. This is truly insulting.
You owe this man (and the world) an apology for being so stupid and neglectful as to leave him off the list. Perhaps you could revise your list and try to make amends.
Gerald A. Gustafson, '62, Napa, Calif.
Job Well Done
Congratulations for a job well done on the 100 most famous, fascinating and influential people from the UW. It was a very interesting list of various people. Some of the names brought back memories of times past when they were very important (and contemporary) in the history of this region.
As I was reading the list, I was wondering where some of the names such as Prof. Giovanni Costigan, Prof. Irene Peden, Dr. Stanley Chappel, Mr. Vilem Sokol and Dr. George Taylor were and then I realized that the names and photos were those of graduates or former students.
So, I am here to ask if you had compiled a list of professors, grad assistants, et al, who helped to put UW on the educational map. I realize that those names mentioned were from a certain time when I was a student, but what about the profs before and after who have made such contributions to our society and have influenced the many, many students who passed through those doors. It is like a bit of immortality as student after student tries to emulate the profs before us and carry on their philosophies and ideals.
Though it may take a bit of research, I would like to know who would be on the list and what are they doing now, if still alive. Wouldn't it be fun to remember those times when class sizes were a bit smaller than what the Kane auditorium could hold today? Wouldn't it be fun to remember what "Red Square" looked like before it was built? Wouldn't it be fun to recall the architectural classes in the old architectural building, and the KCTS staff who used to be on campus? Wouldn't it be fun to remember the former coaches and athletic staff who made such influences on the citizens of this community?
I could go on and on remembering, but I thought I would let you know that your list brought back a time when times were tough (Viet Nam War) and some of my fond memories of interviewing Eddie Carlson for a paper I wrote and later receiving his biography with handwritten name plate which was after my professional career in the hotel industry and just before his passing. It was nice to remember. Thank you.
Diane F. Taniguchi, '70, Seattle
Editor's Note: For tributes to the best UW teachers, please see Twenty-Five Years of Top Teachers, My Favorite Teacher and Class Acts.
Media Slant of History
As an alumna and historian I would comment on the latest issue of Columns by saying it more accurately reflects the media slant of the UW than an academic disclosure. In particular I would recommend that you look at the latest issue of the School of Nursing's Connections where the resources of the University were used, library, historians and extensive interviewing of alumni. Elizabeth Soule, the first woman and third recipient of the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus award should be among your stars. She fits well in our century from her 1912 arrival in Seattle to her death in 1972. You all can do better. I look forward to scholarship to represent our distinguished state University.
Cora Lawrence, '59, '72, Seattle
Journalists Can't Count
When I looked at the cover of the December 1999 Columns, I wondered why you were recognizing the alumni of the century a year early, thereby omitting consideration of those who might make their mark in the year 2000. Then, when reading your "Final Cut" prelude, I found it curious that there would be no Columns published next year, since you were "putting together our last issue of the century."
Finally it dawned on me that, because you are a journalist, you are probably unaware of such mathematical nuances as: a century has 100 years beginning with year 1 and concluding with the year 100. Or, on the other hand, you might be so paranoid about the Y2K glitch that you plan on refraining from any publication during the last year of the century.
Eugene A. Stock, '55, Hemet, Calif.
Journalists Can't Count, Part Two
It is depressing to open the December 1999 issue of Columns, to find a premature celebration of the end of the 20th century which has at least another 12 months to run before completion. One would think that a university education would include a correct understanding of how to count the years.
Michael J. Dunn, '72, Seattle
A Job Well Done
Congratulations on a job well done with the "100 Alumni of the Century." I don't choose to take exception to any of the deserving people. I might, however, like to add Ron Crockett to your list. He has been, and is, an extremely supportive alumnus and friend of the University while successfully leading the fight to bring back Thoroughbred racing to the area.
G. William Joost, '49, Mercer Island
UW Success Story
I loved the "100 Alumni of the Century" cover story in the December 1999 issue. Bruce Lee, Kyle MacLachlan, Kitty Kelleywho would have guessed? Kenny "G"! We were disappointed, however, to read the "Hollywood" sidebar on page 21; you failed to mention my beautiful and very talented cousin, the actress Jean Smart. She played one of the leads in Designing Women, the long-running CBS sitcom. She has acted in everything from the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, on Broadway, other sitcoms, musicals and TV guest spots to movies galore (made-for-TV and otherwise) including last summer's critically acclaimed charmer Guinevere with Stephen Rea and Sarah Polley. She has won the LA Drama Critics Award. She is one of the UW's success stories.
Janet Guthrie Goff, Cardiff, Calif.
All in Good Faith
I am sure the selection of the "100 Alumni of the Century" was difficult and you likely have received some comments. Mine are meant in good faith, with no rancor. The omission I suggest is of Jack Nichols, '48.
- All American Basketball, UW Basketball Hall of Fame
- Pro Basketball player for the Boston Celtics (numerous World Championship rings)
- Dentist, degree achieved while a Boston Celtic
- President, Washington State Dental Association
- Vice President, American Dental Association (150,000 members)
- Dentist to U.S. Olympic Committee
- Dentist to Seattle SuperSonics
- Led fluoridation efforts for citizens of the State of Washington and other health initiatives
- Professor at UW School of Dentistry
- Lecturer, expert Dental Facial Injuries Traumatology. Early proponent of mouth guards.
- Sports Medicine (oro-facial) expert, teacher.
- US Marine Corps, World War II
If dentists are irrelevant to UW's heritage, so may be their philanthropy.
James C. McGraw, '69, Bellevue
On Again, Off Again
I enjoyed your Top 100 list in the December issue of Columns. Many of those I know or have met. Seems like John Ellis, '52, '53, should have been listed for his work with Puget Power, but unlisted for his work in keeping the Mariner's and supporting the tax-draining stadiumboth are "lowers" in the business sense.
Field Ryan, Bremerton
A Few Good Men
About your "100 Alumni of the Century," I'll bet you have had many letters"what about so and so," and "why did you leave him out?" Well, here are a few morethe most famous of all. What is the name of your building? The R. Bronsdon (Curly) Harris Alumni House. Wasn't he the coxswain of the famous 1936 UW Olympic Crew? He raised lots of money for the University of Washington from the Washington State Legislature. He organized and enlarged the alumni association.
How about Herman Brix? In the '20s he was an Olympics weight man and later was Tarzan in the movies. How about Eddie Janung? He was on Olympic distance runner with a gold medal in '32. How about Dean Parsons? He earned 11 or 12 W's in the '50s when freshman played varsity. He got letters in football, basketball and track all four years. What other alumni do you know who ever made 11 big W's? What about Bob Schloredt? He quarterbacked two Rose Bowl teams in the '50s and was twice all-American.
George E. Freck, '33, Portland, Ore.
Editor's Note: While "Curly" Harris was a coxswain, Bob Moch was the coxswain for the 1936 crew that won the gold medal in Berlin. We agree that Harris and these other worthy alumni had an impact on campus. However, our list recognized alumni achievements beyond the boundaries of the UW (see "Final Cut," Dec. 1999).
I was extremely disappointed that you felt the University of Washington was so lacking in brilliant graduates (December 1999 issue, "100 Alumni of The Century") that you had to use "celebrities" like Dyan Cannon , Bruce Lee and others. Give me a break. The fact that these distinguished "celebrity" alumni attended UW briefly and never graduated simply means that they ARE NOT alumni. UW has had many wonderful and brilliant graduates, including my wife Vicki R. Lane, PhD. 1992, who have gone on to make meaningful contributions to society which doesn't include making Grade "B" movies.
Futhermore, I've never known Seattleites to be celebrity worshipers. I believe that you have misrepresented and demeaned this great school.
John T. Lane, Monument, Colo.
Inspiration and Encouragement
Having just read the "Letters to the Editor" (March 2000 issue), I was impressed and pleased by your readers' additions to the "100 Alumni of the Century." These stories provide us with inspiration and encouragement. The 100 profiles represent one cross-section drawn from the thousands of people who have attended the UW. I was left feeling a mix of sadness and disappointment upon finishing the responses chastising the Editor's choices. The tone of several varied from uncivil to disrespectful. Alumni of this great university received an excellent education, and I expect my fellow alums to be articulate, insightful, and above all courteous in discussions over differences in opinion. Let's set good examples for our peers and children. Reflecting upon the energy this topic has unleashed, I found one thing we can agree onall of us can do better.
Kerry R. Peterson, '85, Seattle
100 Alumni: Someone Missing
Here's one you missed, who I am certain met all the criteria for your "Alumni of the Century."
Thomas Griffith was first reporter, eventually National Editor at Time magazine during the 1940's and 1950's, the magazine's journalistic heyday. In 1959 his critique of American society, The Waist-High Culture, was publisheddescribed privately by Dag Hammarskjold as "a comment to America of today...that corresponds with my own reaction after all these years."
I don't know his class at the UW. Probably early 1930's.
Steve Hutchins, '68, via e-mail
Editor's Note: Mr. Griffith, who lives in New York City, graduated with a degree in journalism in 1936.