The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 16 • Number 2 • Spring 1999


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Letter From The Chancellor

Spring is a time of joy at UMD, as we celebrate the achievements of the academic year and the new beginnings of our graduates at commencement.

In April, we celebrated the extraordinary success of UMD's Department of Theatre. Dear Finder, an original script by UMD Theatre Associate Professor Tom Isbell and his students, was performed April 21 and 22 before a national audience at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The emotionally-charged production, which provides an intimate look at the Holocaust through the voices of its victims, was selected as one of only six national winners in the 1999 American College Theatre Festival. It was a pleasure for me to visit with many alumni and friends at a special reception before the April 21 production and to experience with them the important message that the UMD Theatre students conveyed through their outstanding performances.

The national recognition for this theatre production exemplifies UMD's strong commitment to undergraduate research. The writing of the play was a unique collaboration between Professor Isbell and several UMD students in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. They spent countless hours researching the Holocaust and visiting area survivors to accurately tell their stories. The title of Dear Finder refers to the letters that Polish residents wrote and buried in the ghettos in hopes of sharing with the world the atrocities of the Holocaust. (See the photo on page 13.)

In May, we will honor three outstanding members of the campus community -- Professor John "Jack" Coons, Beverly Goldfine and Erwin Goldfine -- with honorary doctoral degrees at UMD's largest commencement ceremony.

Beverly and Erwin Goldfine are two distinguished community leaders I am privileged to now call friends. Duluth business leader Erwin Goldfine served as a regent of the University of Minnesota for 12 years. A strong university advocate, he supported UMD's mission throughout his career and helped establish the UMD School of Medicine.

Beverly Goldfine is a champion of those less fortunate, of education and of the arts. Her commitment to providing low-income housing in Duluth led to a national award from U.S. President Gerald Ford. As a long-term Advisory Board member of the UMD Tweed Museum of Art, she served on the board for the planning and addition of the Sax Sculpture Conservatory.

Today, the Goldfines' legacy to our students lives on in the UMD Beverly and Erwin Goldfine Scholarship for Academic Excellence and in UMD's Goldfine Hall. Presenting them with honorary Doctor of Laws degrees will be a fitting tribute to all of their accomplishments on behalf of UMD and the Duluth community.

Presenting the commencement address will be 1950 UMD graduate John E. "Jack" Coons, who will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. An emeritus professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, Jack is a recognized national leader in the area of equalized funding in K-12 education. A distinguished scholar, lawyer and author, Jack has published numerous books addressing school choice and has served as a national consultant to leading education associations and institutions. It is an honor for me to recognize Jack's outstanding contributions by presenting him with an honorary doctoral degree.

As we celebrate the new beginnings with 1,000 members of the UMD Class of 1999 at commencement, it is also a time of reflection as we look to the new millennium. While it is important to celebrate all that we have accomplished in the last 100 years, we must not forget the past. As exemplified through Dear Finder's powerful production, we will continue at UMD to provide enriching experiences for our students that will give the necessary historical perspective as well as develop the current skills needed to meet the challenges that await us in the 21st century.

  -- Kathryn A. Martin, UMD Chancellor
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