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Sustainability Issue evokes ’40s-era role models

Having recently removed my self-imposed estrangement from the College, I once again enjoy reading the Bulletin (with the aid of my video magnifier!). It continues its high quality of content and production.

I was especially interested in the January articles on sustainability (my dictionary doesn’t define this, but I assume it’s related to “conservation,” a subject of great interest to me for 90 years).

President Rebecca Chopp was quoted as saying “the Quakers gave us a good model.” Indeed, they did. I can give some examples.

Before World War II, civil engineering professors Scott Lilly and Sam Carpenter extolled the virtues of pure air and clean water under the rubric of “sanitary engineering.” Mechanical engineering professor George Thom, in his course on thermodynamics, taught the values of conserving energy and the concept of entropy (a measure of the conversion of energy into an unavailable form).

President Frank Aydelotte hired Indiana Quaker Nicholas O. Pittenger (“Mr. Pitt”) to be the College comptroller and business manager. Mr. Pitt bought a farm near Oxford, Pa., and many a Sunday I drove there with him and helped with the spring plowing and fall harvesting. We planted more than 1,000 seedlings to launch a tree farm.

Weekdays, I often worked for superintendent of buildings and grounds Andy Simpson, one-time engineering professor, and under the immediate supervision of head gardener Harry Wood, who managed the Scott Arboretum.

On both these jobs I was paid 50 cents an hour, which together with a scholarship from the alumni because I played football, helped to cover the total cost of $1,000 for tuition, room, meals, fees, and books. …

Although the terms and titles have changed, the Quakers still serve as models of sustainability.

John L. Dugan ’43
New Vernon, N.J.

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