Vol. IX, No.1 University of Colorado Spring 2004
CU law professor and novelist Marianne "Mimi" Wesson poses on her motorcycle, a Kawasaki 800 Drifter.
She lives on a Larimer County llama ranch.
The annual spring meeting of the RFA will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 235 of the University Memorial Center on the CU-Boulder campus. Following the business meeting there will be a 45-minute break for fellowship, conversation and punch. The luncheon will begin in the same room at 12:15 p.m.
Wesson’s talk is titled "State of Mind: The Hillman Case." It focuses on the story of sometime rancher, sometime drifter John Hillman, whose corpse was found at a campground at Medicine Lodge, Kan., in 1879.
Hillman had left from Topeka for Colorado to start a sheep ranch. His life insurance policies totaled some $25,000
"That was a huge amount for the times," Wesson said. "It would be equivalent to $750,000 today.
"The life insurance companies refused to pay. They claimed the man found dead at the campground wasn’t John Hillman.”
Hillman’s widow, Sally, was14 when they married and an 18-year-old waitress when he died. In 1881, she filed lawsuits against each of the three insurance companies that had denied her claims.
"The case was tried six times and went to the U.S. Supreme Court twice," Wesson said.
"This would be a great made-for-TV movie. Sally Hillman was up against the finest lawyers money could buy. You have to admire her for the way she kept after it."
A native of Dallas, Texas, Wesson graduated from Vassar College and the University of Texas Law School and began teaching at the University of Colorado in 1976.
She is best known for her contributions to the debate about pornography in feminism and law; her work on the subject has been published in law reviews as well as in more popular publications such as "The Women’s Review of Books." Wesson has published many academic articles over the years, as well as a treatise about the Colorado Criminal Code called "Crimes and Defenses in Colorado."
Her principal teaching interests are criminal law, evidence, trial practice and law and literature. Wesson's teaching has been honored with the Teaching Excellence Award at CU three times; she has also been named a President's Teaching Scholar, the University's highest form of recognition for teaching excellence. She holds the Wolf-Nichol Fellowship at the Law School, a position set aside to honor teaching achievement. She also served as associate vice president for academic affairs in 1989-90 and interim dean of the law school in 1995-96.
Wesson has trial law experience as well. In 1980, after four years of teaching, she took a leave of absence to serve for two years as a federal prosecutor in the Office of the United States Attorney in Denver. During those years she tried many federal criminal cases, including kidnapping, firearms and explosives cases, extortion and white collar crimes. After she returned to teaching in 1982, she continued to take on occasional trial work to keep her skills from growing rusty and “because nothing else has the thrill of the courtroom.”
In the mid-1980s she co-represented the plaintiff in Simmons v. Simmons, the first case in Colorado – and one of the first in the country – to recognize that a woman has a right to sue her former husband for abusive injuries he inflicted on her during their marriage.
In 1991, Wesson was appointed by the California Supreme Court to represent a death row inmate. The experience inspired her to write her first novel, "Render Up the Body," about a former prosecutor and rape victims' advocate who is appointed to represent a death row inmate. The book appeared in the United States in January of 1998. It was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for fiction.
Her second novel, "A Suggestion of Death," was released in 1999. Both novels are set in Boulder. Her third novel in the series, "Chilling Effect," will be published Aug. 1 by the University Press of Colorado. She has been interviewed on National Public Radio, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN and Court TV and provides regular commentary to NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.
More information about Wesson and her works can be found at www.wessonbooks.com
Activities of your association since last fall have been directed toward both "What can the RFA do for its members?" and "What can RFA members do for their university?" Efforts in the first category have included comment to the administration and support for proposals relative to providing EcoPasses for retired faculty residing in the region served by the RTD and necessary changes to the provisions for parking for retirees on the Boulder campus.
Your executive board fashioned two resolutions that were sent to Vice Chancellor for Administration Paul Tabolt. One expressed our support for a proposal to provide EcoPasses to retired faculty who hold active appointments to university positions. The second commented on and suggested modification to a proposal for parking permits for faculty who retire after this new plan goes into effect.
The parking administration faces a difficult problem as it tries to accommodate our needs. The present free parking in the Euclid Avenue parking structure (EAP) would be replaced by free parking on other designated campus lots and parking at one-half the normal cost at the EAP. Those retirees who already hold free permits for EAP will continue to have that benefit. We urged that parking at EAP be free for all retirees with permits during times when the lot is known to be lightly used, such as evenings, weekends and university holidays. We also reminded the administration of the need for easy accessibility for those retired faculty with limited mobility. These proposals are now going through the required process of vetting and approvals within the administration.
As your president, I have participated in an activity that potentially falls into both categories of service. I was asked last August to become a member of a committee on faculty retirement options, chaired by Associate Vice President Anne Costain. The goal of the committee has been to generate a menu of additional options intended to make retirement more attractive and feasible for faculty members. The committee completed its report in February and the process of review for legal acceptability and approval by university governance bodies is under way. Provisions for retirement benefits are subject to both federal and Colorado state laws.
You ask, "What has this to do with those of us already retired?" This is where opportunities may exist for RFA members to be of service to the university and to our faculty colleagues who are considering retirement. The report recommends additional sources of information on all four campuses for prospective retirees. As people living the experience of retirement, we can offer perspectives that may not occur to active administrators and benefits personnel who do not have this first-hand exposure. A useful contribution could be a "Retirees’ Guide to Retirement," a booklet prepared by us for distribution by the human resource, faculty affairs or ombuds offices on the four campuses as a supplement on the "human" and social aspects of retirement to their information on the fiscal and legal elements of the retirement process. A brief form of such a guide was prepared some years ago, and this could be developed to take into account expanded retirement options that may come out of the current deliberations.
We have already discussed briefly the possibility that volunteers from our membership could engage in one-on-one conversations about retirement with faculty considering that step. The options report recommends an expansion of advising and counseling services for prospective retirees on all campuses. The implementation of this recommendation might provide an opportunity for interested members to work part-time in one of the designated campus offices. Another approach, which we have already touched on, is for volunteers to provide, on an informal basis, insights to colleagues, especially in their own department or college. Some version of the recommended options should be approved in the near future; we shall keep you informed.The campaign to solicit funds for an endowed RFA Graduate Student Awards program, through the CU Foundation, is now under way. During the first few months we have accumulated about one-fourth of our goal, so we are confident we can hit the target of $50,000 by the end of 2005. The prospects for success are now in your hands
RFA research awards
Outstanding graduate students have been selected by their campus administrations as the recipients of the RFA Graduate Student Award for the 2003-2004 academic year. As is their usual practice, UCHSC has chosen two awardees as the top graduate students at the fall campus-wide research forum. They are Gregory Bird, a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology program, and Jeffrey Colbert, a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Immunology program. Bird is working in the field of RNA processing under the guidance of Dr. Robert Bentley. Colbert works on TNF-mediated signaling, with Dr. David Riches, his advisor. Both award winnrs will tell us about their work at the April 28 meeting of the association.
The award to CU-Denver has been given to Sam McGuire. He is a student in the Master of Arts in Recording Science program in the College of Arts and Media. His faculty advisor is Roy Pritt. Mr. McGuire will be invited to make his presentation to us at the October general meeting.
Grad student awards
This is a reminder that the campaign to fund a permanent RFA Graduate Student Awards program is now under way. The goal is to acquire at least $50,000 by the end of 2005 in order to create an endowed fund in the CU Foundation. Our previous awards have made an important contribution to the graduate education of outstanding students on all four campuses. All RFA members have been contacted by mail with a request to support this effort.
Your contribution may be by payment now, a pledge for the next two years or a combination. Please send your check, payable to the CU Foundation (not the RFA) and pledge, with a letter stating that it goes to the RFA Graduate Student Awards fund, to the CU Foundation, P.O. Box 1140, Boulder, CO 80306-1140. We must all do our part if this worthy effort is to succeed.
Staying in Touch
HAZEL E. BARNES (Philosophy, UCB) went to Greece for
four weeks in May and June 2003. “I
still write an occasional article,” she wrote.
The most recent was “Taking A Chance on Chance: A Sartrean
Perspective,” accepted for publication by the Review of Existential Psychology
ARTHUR BOARDMAN (English, UCB) is still writing poems,
which can be read at www.zianet.com/boardmanpoems
MARY BONNEVILLE (MCD Biology, UCB) is preparing a series
of TV interviews and their transcriptions for deposit in the Norlin Archives. The first group deals with the life of
Keith Roberts Porter, founder and first chairman of MCD Biology on the Boulder
campus. The interviews were done in
the mid 1980s, more than a decade before his death in 1997. firstname.lastname@example.org
LYLE BOURNE (Psychology, UCB) retired from teaching and committee work, but he is still researching and publishing. He has two active grants through 2006. “I’m at CU four to five days a week with no Eco-pass and fighting for parking space,” he wrote. email@example.com
STORM BULL (Music, UCB) wrote, “Having joined the many who have preceded me, I am learning how to live a productive and meaningful life after the loss of my beloved Ellen; this after my good fortune of having her at my side for 65 years. I am learning how to exploit the pleasures that are available in single life no matter how obscurely they are hidden.” He lives in Leisure World in Mesa, Ariz., a retirement community with “far more opportunities for pursuing and developing interests and hobbies than even a far younger man than I would be able to enjoy. In short, I am still among the fortunate few who have gotten more from life, than some would say, I deserve.” firstname.lastname@example.org
JAMES L. BUSEY (Political Science, UCCS) wrote that he’s been “eating, sleeping, keeping our half-acre looking more or less civilized and staying alive; oh, and filling out forms.”
GUY DUCKWORTH (Music, UCB) was honored by the Music Teachers National Association for lifetime achievement at its convention in Kansas City, Mo., in March.
JERRY FLACK (Education, UCCS) in November was presented the 2003 E. Paul Torrence award at the 50th Annual Convention of the National Association for Gifted Children. The award is presented annually to an individual or institution that has made a significant contribution to the creative development of children. Flack was cited for his 10 books and more than 50 articles on creative teaching strategies to develop talented and inventive thinking in children as well as his two decades of service to the Creativity Division and the association. In 2000, he received the NAGC Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement. email@example.com
JOHN S. FOWLER (Integrated Physiology, UCB) attended his 50th college reunion in England in 2003 and also spent some time in Berlin. He is volunteering on the supervisory committee of the CU Credit Union and at Boulder Community Foothills Hospital Resource Center. He is regional director of the International Association of Torch Clubs (forums where people from a variety of professions meet socially each month for dinner, fellowship, sharing knowledge and exchanging opinions. The Boulder Torch Club meets at CU. He invites RFA members interested in the organization to contact him. John.Fowler@buffmail.colorado.edu
BILL HANNA (Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCB) and his wife, Helen, attended a July family reunion in North Stonington, Conn., and his grandson’s wedding in Mount Vernon, Wash., in August.
ANN MARTIN (Political Science, UCB) is writing a biographical novel bout her family, who came from Italy. “My father came from Tuscany to New Mexico,” she wrote. “My mother followed him and they settled in northern New Mexico.” Her father, a stonemason, built many homes and office buildings in New Mexico. Five members of her family graduated from CU.
DAVID PAULSON (Architecture & Planning, UCB) and his wife, Joy, sailed aboard the Queen Mary 2 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Southampton, England. The 17-day voyage had ports-of-call in Barbados, Senegal, Canary Islands, Madeira and Lisbon. After three additional days enjoying London, the Paulsons returned to Boulder. firstname.lastname@example.org
LINDA LEE PFEFFER-KLEA (Nursing, UCCS) retired in August after 20 years of service. She and her husband are enjoying living in their Dillon condo, fishing and hiking. They have adopted a second westhighland terrier. She is working for the College of Nursing to fill in for those out sick or away at conferences. BKLEA@aol.com
HUGO G. RODECK (Museum, UCB) is now living at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Boulder. He is 101 years old.
HERB SCHLESINGER (Psychiatry, UCHSC) is still active in the Department of Psychiatry of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and spends most of his time at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Center and the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. His new book, “The Texture of Treatment, On the Matter of Psychoanalytic Technique” published by The Analytic Press, came out last fall. “Some of my old colleagues in the School of Medicine might be interested,” he wrote. email@example.com
R.J. SCHOECK (English/Humanities, UCB) has been writing articles and papers on Erasmus and on the classical scholarship of Renaissance England. His works of poetry include “Prairie Epiphanies” and “Laurentian Codicil,” a prize-winning book. firstname.lastname@example.org
TIMOTHY TREGARTHEN (Economics, UCCS) is a patient at Pikes Peaks Hospice, where he is suffering end-stage multiple sclerosis. He would appreciate cards and letters: 825 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Suite 412, Colorado Springs, CO, email@example.com
MICHAEL (Psychology, UCB) and MARILYN (Norlin Library) WERTHEIMER in 2003 took to old U.S. highways on driving trips to the Pacific northwest and to New England. Michael co-edited the fifth volume in the series “Portraits of Pioneers in Psychology,” which was published in 2003. “In February 2004 we had a rewarding, fascinating trip to Guatemala and Belize, and, if all goes well, by the end of the year Michael’s biography of his father, Gestalt theorist Max Wertheimer, should be published,” they wrote. firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion Group : 20th
Century Ideas and Controversies
By Johann Stoyva
This discussion group was something I’d had in mind for at least a year, but I hesitated, worried that the project would probably fall flat on its face. Then I mentioned it to John Murphy, who enthusiastically endorsed the idea.
So what did we have in mind? Generalizing from an n of 2, we surmised that a significant percentage of retired faculty would enjoy the opportunity to discuss issues of intellectual substance in a friendly and collegial atmosphere – something that would be about half-way between a cocktail party and a graduate seminar.
As our guiding topic, we settled on Twentieth Century Ideas and Controversies. The response was much more vigorous than we had expected. So we formed two groups – one meeting bi-weekly, the other every three weeks. Members tend to be people who enjoy reading outside their own specialty.
Curiously, we have at least eight participants with a Chicago connection – either the University or the city. (In fairness, we should also note a healthy New York presence, although it is much smaller.)
For background material, we use Peter Watson’s wide-ranging opus, “The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century.” Our typical format is that of a question followed by the offering of diverse opinions on the matter.
Members tend to be articulate and opinionated – so discussions are lively,and we often don’t get through all of the ‘assigned’ chapter. At any rate, so far no blood feuds have emerged.
In our meetings to date we’ve dealt with Nietsche, Freud, unity of science, continental drift, collapse of classical physics, social Darwinism, Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” and the moral pitfalls of genetic engineering. Right now we are about ready to engage with World War I.
For recruitiing purposes, the RFA Directory, put together by Stu Strickler, turned out to be absolutely invaluable. And thanks to Richard Roth’s assistance, we were conveniently able to ‘canvas’ all retired faculty who happen to have an e-mail address. If you would like information about the Book Group, please contact Johann Stoyva (e-mail is <mailto:email@example.com> or firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone at 303-443-5592).
Carl Kisslinger, current RFA president, and Chuck Howe, president-elect, are both keen on the idea that other interest groups for retired faculty could be initiated in the future. Contact either of them should you wish to launch a particular group. Then get in touch with Richard Roth to see about sending out your recruitment e-mail. His address is in the RFA Directory, as are those of Carl Kisslinger and Chuck Howe.
Tea Time Talk
CU history Professor Tom Noel presents "A Social History of Taverns in Colorado" during the RFA’s March 31 Tea Time Talk held at the Academy Chapel in Boulder.
Photo by Carl Kisslinger