Courage Under Fire
Thank you for the great tribute to former UNH English professor G. Harris Daggett by Kimberly Swick Slover in the UNH Magazine (Fall '01). I was a student in his humanities course in 1961 during the spring protest of the civil defense alert. He never encouraged anyone to demonstrate or to disobey the town's regulations; all he did was to explain to us our rights as citizens and to encourage us to act on our beliefs. He was one of the first teachers I ever had who actually helped me to think.
Professor Daggett also introduced me to opera. I'll always cherish our trip to Boston to see "La Boheme." Dr. Daggett made me laugh when he said he always bought two tickets to see an opera--one ticket for where he sits and the other for his hat.
Gerald P. Lunderville '63
Concerning the article about professor Daggett, I think the author painted professor Daggett as more of a hero, and his critics as more villainous, than either deserves.
I was in one of professor Daggett's freshman English classes, probably in 1946-47; my memory is that he spent a great deal of class time proselytizing for his political beliefs.
While professor Daggett obviously had a right to his political beliefs, I don't think it was proper for him to use valuable class time, paid for by the students and federal government and subsidized by the state, to lengthily advocate his own political views to his students. I don't think critics were out of line to protest this, though some may have overreacted.Willard G. Holt '50
Burnt Hills, N.Y.
I had professor Gwynne Daggett in two semesters of humanities in 1950-51. I enjoyed the courses, and they opened my mind to an appreciation of the arts. I found professor Daggett to be an excellent teacher who never put any political slant on anything.
I believe he was unfairly persecuted in the mania of the beginning of the Cold War because he dared to provoke people to thought. My only regret is that I never saw him smile, but he "hung in there" and did his work well.
The UNH administration and trustees did well to resist the populist pressure to discharge him. Thank you for printing the article, which has finally given him the credit he was due.Stanley R. Putnam '51
I was in the class of '49 and took professor Daggett's humanities class my freshman year. I still have great memories from his class and of how much I was inspired to learn about literature, art, classical music and living your own life. I'm sure many other students were inspired as I was. I continue on my quest for a meaningful life. Professor Daggett changed my life for the better, and I am so grateful to him after all these years.Robert D. Hagen '49
My thoughts on professor Daggett are these: He was educator, advisor, friend and, above all, stimulator. He and professor Howard Stolworthy (mechanical engineering) were the greatest positive influences in my life--first at UNH and then my life in the world. My sharpest memories of professor Daggett include gathering with other freshman English students at his house, going to his office for help with personal problems, his exciting classes and his frequent smokers.
One day I was driving a fair distance from Durham and came upon professor Daggett pushing his bike (flat tire). We loaded the bike into my car and completed his journey. The article mentions his penchant for seeking out manual labor jobs in the summer. I remember being impressed with his huge upper arms the day I picked him up.
The focus of the article, of course, was the political controversy that swirled around professor Daggett. Much of that occurred during my four years at UNH. In addition to freshman English, I was "exposed" to his teachings at several smokers. In class his message was think. In the smokers, he provoked the non-thinkers in the crowd by asking what we believed in and why.
I recall very clearly being called aside by a classmate--the son of a prominent wealthy conservative in New Hampshire political circles--during a smoker in Alexander Hall. He asked me and other dorm friends to assemble after the smoker and beat up professor Daggett. The student expressed great distress that naive freshmen were being exposed to such radical and un-American thoughts. We told him to cool off, and nothing happened, but his knee-jerk reaction was instructive. I've seen it many times since in business, government and education arenas when someone challenges the status quo.
At the time I recognized how little I really understood about our republic and the democratic way, and how ill prepared I was to explain our country philosophically to others, or to defend it. I have always believed that was exactly his point: he wanted us to think about our system and our beliefs, and to learn to express ourselves on a par with people from foreign countries.
When I learned of his untimely passing in 1969, I was deeply saddened. By his example of what it means to be a teacher, and to be committed, and to have passion, and to stand up with courage and dignity against terrible pressure, he enriched the lives of his students and many others in the UNH community.
Walter A. Kennedy '57
Professor Daggett was one of my favorites. He taught us to study the Bible as literature and introduced us to opera, an experience of a lifetime. I remember during the '60's upheavals, he said, "In 20 years, I wonder how many of you will care about peace issues?"
I'm sure he'd like to know that some of us UNH graduates are still working for peace and justice.
Ellie Mitchell Caldwell '70
During my junior year as an English lit. major in the late '60s, professor Daggett was responsible for making recommendations to the Ford Foundation Award Committee regarding deserving students in liberal arts. I remember him, not because of his politics, which he kept out of the classroom, but because he cared enough to recognize my loss of direction, and he tried to ground my life by making a fellowship available to me, splitting it with another deserving student.
When he passed away, it was a blow. I remember standing at the back of the Community Church in Durham, in what I recall was a Quaker testimonial, in which his colleagues and peers celebrated and bore witness to his strongly principled life. Many spoke. I was too shy to participate, even though I wanted to. Had I the temerity, I would have said what I say now: "Thanks, Gwynne." Your article brought it all back.
Eugene Davis '69
I received the fall issue of the UNH Magazine yesterday and was quite taken with the back cover photograph of Durham in fall. Is there any way I could obtain a copy of the photograph by itself?
Paul McCallum '97G
Editor's Note: We received a number of requests for reprints of the fall issue's back cover. To order a print, contact UNH Photo Services at (603) 862-2432.
I read with interest Anne Downey's article on emotional intelligence (Fall '01). I serve on the board of a nonprofit, Parents Forum, http://www.parentsforum.org, which provides skill development and support for parents. One of the components of the program demonstrates a communication process where individuals practice attentive listening and articulation of feelings, values and goals.
The ability to understand one's feelings and reason through possible emotional responses before acting on one's emotions is critical to experiencing more positive relationships and personal contentment in both one's family life and professional ventures. Professor Mayer and his colleagues are to be commended for their work on the theory of emotional intelligence.
Lee Ann Frigulietti '86
A Whale's Tale
The Fall '01 UNH Magazine told the story of right whale #1102, also known as Churchill, and my own work on right whales. Some people have asked about Churchill's whereabouts. I am afraid I do not have very promising news.
Churchill came back down to the waters off Cape Cod (where he was tagged in June) after three months of wandering about the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of St. Lawrence (some 5,000 kilometers). We last saw him swimming slowly at the surface off the cape looking very poorly. He had turned almost completely white and was covered with parasites, which indicate poor tissue quality.
Churchill then swam southeast, and, on Sept. 16 at 2:18 p.m., the satellite transmission stopped. We can only assume that he died of his wounds and dragged the transmitter below the surface. Churchill taught us a lot about injured animals, methods to capture and disentangle and more information about these whales' migratory patterns.
For an image of Churchill's track through the Gulf of Maine,
please take a look at the following Web site:
By the Numbers
In "Campus Currents" in the Spring '01 issue, "A Durham Snapshot: Notes from the 2000 Census" states that the state's population grew 11.4 percent to 12 million people. In fact, New Hampshire's population is more like 1.2 million people. Methinks you slipped a decimal point here.
By the way, according to the T-Hall administration, Durham's population in 1946 was 4,000. The students numbered 3,800. What is the UNH student population now? We grads are interested.
Editor's Note: In fall 2001, UNH enrolled 10,400 undergraduate and 2,004 graduate students.
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