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4200 FIFTH AVENUE

LET ME TELL YOU HOW I survived graduate school: Coffee. Reading at every opportunity, including when I stopped at red lights. (Hint: Open the book as the light turns yellow.) And Dr. Mooney.

Harry Mooney's office was next to the one I shared, in my second year of the fiction writing program, with seven other grad students. Bright rooms with windows facing onto one of the Cathedral's fifth-floor parapets, ours was prime, albeit crowded, real estate. It seemed all the more bright for the huddle of first-year-student cubicles that filled the center of the wing, pensive spaces to which the natural light could not stretch, illuminated each with its own small and focused lamp.

"What are you reading?" Dr. Mooney inquired when we chanced to reach our doors at the same time. "Come in," he would say, inviting me into both his office and conversation. And so we would chat about books and stories, the writers Peter Taylor and Jamaica Kincaid, about the latest fiction in the New Yorker. I would return to my desk refreshed, ready to work once again.

We keep good company at a university, keep company with women and men of rich and discerning and generous thought. "What are you reading?" A small question. A life preserver. In the headiness and unrelenting pressure of life as a teaching fellow, I could easily have drowned. Much of graduate school for me was about what I was not. I was not an abstract thinker, not someone who could invoke the name Dostoevsky in discussing a student paper. I was not even a good fiction writer. Happily, in carving painfully away at the "nots," I found out a thing or two about what I was - A critical thinker, for instance, a teacher of the specific, a writer of essays. And, in many ways, the road from what I was not to what I might become lay in that simple investment by Dr. Mooney: "What are you reading?" It is a road I am still traveling.

PITT MAGAZINE HAS been in interesting company lately. We were honored with an Ozzie Award for Design. What we didn't know until we opened the recent issue of Folio magazine was how prestigious an honor it was. There - tied for Best Overall Design - were Harper's Bazaar, Martha Stewart Living, and our own frog from the cover of our May 1994 ("What is Beauty?") issue. Congratulations to Gary Cravener for his aesthetic vision.

We promise to continue to keep good company with you in Pitt Magazine. Over the last few years, however, we've sustained a series of budget cuts, a reflection of fiscal realities being experienced in higher education across the nation. Soaring paper costs and postal increases have added to the cost of produing a magazine of this caliber. Despite serious belt-tightening and the inception of an advertising program, we find that we must cut back on the frequency of publication. Beginning with the next issue, we will publish four times a year - June, September, December, and March. As always, we look to our readers for feedback. Drop us a note and let us know how we have met - or might better serve - your needs. If you are interested in showing your support for Pitt Magazine with a voluntary subscription, you will find further information on the back cover.

Sally Ann Flecker


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