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Reporters and writers can't seem to write profile articles without finding something derogatory to say--I guess they think it's 'balance.' I am at a loss to understand the "shoot-from-the-lip" comment [in the profile of Tom Usher, "Steel in Control," March 1996].

I have known Tom Usher for many years. I can't believe that anyone who knows him well would agree that that is one of his characteristics.

Other than that, I thought it was a rather splendid piece.

There is one minor mistake in the article. Tom Usher is not a direct descendant of J. P. Morgan. He is a direct descendant of Charles Schwab. It was Schwab's idea to create U. S. Steel, and he went to J. P. Morgan for financing. The first chairman of U.S. Steel was Judge Gary. But he was not the chief executive; Charles Schwab was. Schwab did not get along with Judge Gary or J. P. Morgan so he resigned from his position at U. S. Steel and took control of a fledgling steel operation called Bethlehem Steel. The rest is history, as they say.

John E. Sheehan
Annapolis, Maryland


["Follow the Sun," March 1996] contained some misinformation about the future of nuclear power. James Cobb stated that the halt in construction of US nuclear power plants was due to "...Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl...."

All present US commercial nuclear power plants were ordered and built after Nagasaki and Hiroshima, so the reference to those events is asinine concerning the halt in construction.

The events at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl did create more difficulties for nuclear power becoming an energy choice for the future, but orders and construction for new plants continue throughout the world, particularly the Far East.

The chief reason for the halt in construction of US plants is the federal government's inability to meet commitments regarding the receipt and storage of high-level nuclear waste. The general public needs to be aware that this obstacle will limit America's future productivity until it is resolved. Misinformation will only delay that resolution.

Stephen M. Hurst
Business '90
Braidwood Nuclear Station
Joliet, Illinois

Professor James Cobb responds: I fear that Mr. Hurst, as an engineering specialist personally quite familiar and comfortable with nuclear technology, gives insufficient consideration to the depth of emotional impact of televised images of mushroom clouds and radiation-induced illness on the general public and those who must decide how to store high-level waste from Mr. Hurst's nuclear plant.


Two evenings ago, I picked up Pitt Magazine and was reading some of the articles. I stopped at one in particular and when I turned the page, I received a very pleasant surprise! I found a picture of me that was taken in my senior year (Homecoming, "Members of Student Government, 1953"). The two men in the photo are Dan Berger, a member of Student Congress with me, and Charles Elliott, our faculty advisor.

It brought back a flood of warm memories that I have for Pitt. I loved my years there. Dan went on to become an attorney. I don't know where Mr. Elliott is. In the '70s I went back to get a master's from Duquesne, then in the '80s I went back to my alma mater for an MPA. The school has dramatically changed, but I've never lost my fondness for it. So much so, that in the last eight years I have been very active as a member of the Alumnae Council. It was easy to talk me into becoming a member of the board by telling me that we sponsor Lantern Night. What a thrill it was for a young freshman from a small town to become a member of the large University community.

I don't know how that photograph was chosen from a possibility of 42 years of photos--but, from the bottom of a rather sentimental heart--thanks for the memory.

Gerrie Titchworth
Arts and Sciences '53
Public and International
Affairs '86
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


When Herb McCracken died earlier this year at age 96, Pitt lost one of her most visionary, resourceful, and most fanatically devoted sons.

After graduating Pitt with a major in advertising, and serving in the Korean Conflict, I went to work for a New York ad agency as a copywriter. One weekend I saw an ad in the Sunday Times placed by Scholastic Magazine, of which Herb was then chairman, for a "Special Projects Manager." Scholastic up till then had not accepted advertising, but now it wanted to.

Herb was utterly scrupulous as a businessman, a moralist of the first order, a pillar of rectitude. He...had a rather long list of...lucrative ad categories whose business he turned down. In the C's alone, there were candy, chewing gum, cosmetics, carbonated beverages (read Coke). I knew ad executives who would put Christ back on the cross to get at accounts in those categories. But Herb was never a snob, much less was he money driven, and he never forgot his customers were school children and their teachers.

So we heave a sigh of sadness and drop a tear as we bid Herb McCracken a fond and affectionate farewell. He was a real gentleman in and out of business, and madly fond of Pitt. It'll be a while before we see his like again.

Stan Wynett
Business '52
Flushing, New York

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