oberlin alumni magazine  


An Important Addition

We very much appreciated David Young's fine Memorial Minute for Andrew Bongiorno. But we want to offer a very important addition to the recitation of his scholarly accomplishments. Andrew Bongiorno was the co- translator of one of the more important, monumental works in 20th-century social science--Vilfredo Pareto's Trattato di Sociologia Generale (in English--The Mind and Society), 1935, in four volumes.

Charles A. Goldsmid
Former member, Oberlin Department of Sociology
Coordinator, Academic Advising

New Vistas and High Plateaus

I read the Memorial Minute on Andrew Bongiorno through tears. He often sounded the theme that liberal education develops the person, not the work that an individual will do. By way of illustration, a farmer is a person who farms, a doctor a person who heals. But all good rules admit exceptions. Andrew was a a teacher, the very embodiment of the idea of a teacher. His undramatic, unfailing, utter devotion to teaching was unique in my 50 years of experience in universities. More than 60 years after freshman English and a sophomore lit course, I remember salient messages from his teaching. As with all great art, his teaching appeared effortless.

He focused so completely on teaching that he struck many of us as ascetic, to the point that he surprised me when, during a visit to his home, he offered cookies. Oberlin opened new vistas. Andrew Bongiornio showed us high plateaus.

Merton C. Bernstein '43
St. Louis, Missouri


Left is Right

As a molecular biologist who has worked with DNA for my whole career, the cover of the Winter 1999 issue caught my attention. I hate to be pedantic, but the drawing of DNA has a significant error. The Watson-Crick double helix should be a right-handed helix, but what is drawn is left-handed (as is the one on page 16). Interestingly, your illustrator can draw DNA both ways, because he got it right on page 14.
Rolf Sternglanz '60
Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology,
State University of New York

A Correction of Facts

I am writing to correct several errors of fact in Peter Gwynne's DNA article in the winter issue. These relate specifically to the description of my research on page 17.

The gene we study encodes plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1), not plasminogen. Plasminogen is not the "substance that degrades certain blood clots," but rather is converted by plasminogen activators to plasmin, which degrades blood clots and other proteins. PAI-1 regulates the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin.

The growth factor TGF beta is not used to treat fibrotic disease. In fact, it is likely to be the culprit in the fibrosis and scarring that occurs in chronic inflammatory diseases.

Glucocorticoids are used to treat these diseases, and they counteract the effects of TGF beta. Our research is not aimed at "persuading the two compounds to work effectively in concert," but rather to understand the molecular mechanisms by which glucocorticoids antagonize TGF beta. This knowledge could lead to the design of more selective synthetic glucocorticoids with fewer unwanted side effects.
Tom Gelehrter '57
Professor and Chair,
Department of Human Genetics,
University of Michigan Medical School


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