Letters to the Editor

Henry King Stanford should be memorialized by more than service

I left the memorial service for Henry King Stanford, past president of the university, with mixed emotions.

As I listened to speakers relate stories of their interactions with Dr. Stanford, my eyes welled with tears as fond memories came back of my own interactions with this great man who shaped the future of the University of Miami.

But I was also confused. While I chose to wear a dark suit to the memorial service, I was surrounded by people, including President Shalala, wearing brightly-colored ceremonial jackets that I assume represented Iron Arrow. I earned two of my three degrees from Miami, the last being in 1990. I suppose that somehow, over the past 18 years, the culture at the U has changed from one in which those jackets were mainly seen at homecoming football games to one in which it is now acceptable to wear this jacket at events including a memorial service.

While distracted from parts of the memorial service by the contemplation of this brightly-colored garb, as I listened to the fine words spoken by former USBG President (1978-1979) Alicia Cervera Lamadrid and spotted former USBG President (1979-1980) Paul Novack in the audience, I noticed that they were not wearing any brightly-colored jackets. It was then that I was truly saddened.

It was under the leadership of USBG presidents such as Cervera Lamadrid and Novack, as well as university President Henry King Stanford, that Iron Arrow was forced to leave campus because they did not accept women into their ranks. Ultimately, Iron Arrow came to see the error of their ways and now includes women in their membership. Nonetheless, and while the current female university president is a member, these “mavericks” who helped shaped the future of Iron Arrow to include women were never recognized by that same organization for their brave stand or their tremendous contributions to the university through their service as USBG presidents.   In no small way, Dr. Shalala is a member of Iron Arrow today because of the courageous stand that leaders such as Ms. Lamadrid and Mr. Novack took with the support of Dr. Stanford in the 1970s. The fact that Iron Arrow’s proclamation of being “the university’s highest honor” may have become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that those who not only contributed so much to the university but also took a brave stance on Iron Arrow were never recognized by that organization calls into question whether Iron Arrow is truly “the university’s highest honor.”

As I sat in the audience, I couldn’t help but think that the fond memory of our greatest university leader who similarly fought for the rights of women on campus, including the right to a membership in Iron Arrow, was marred by the display of the bright colors at his memorial service.

Perhaps it is time to create a new honor society that truly is worthy of the designation of being the university’s highest honor. One that recognizes academic excellence, service to the university, attitude, demeanor and ethical conduct. That honor society should be named after the man who embodied all of those qualities and more:  The Stanford Honor Society.

Bradley S. Feuer

B.S. ‘80

J.D. ‘90

March 1, 2009

Reporters

Hurricane Reader

Letter to the Editor


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Henry King Stanford should be memorialized by more than service”

  1. Wes Laker says:

    Awesome how true it is. Nationally few student government presidents make waves that are intellectual, honorable, ethical, effective, and historic. Novack was one of those, and he did incredible things for the students – and for the U, that still resonate today. Most don’t know, or appreciate, how important are some of the things done then or how they helped shape the U and improve its standing. The idea of Mr. Feuer for a new honor society to carry on the legacy of Dr. Stanford and those who had the courage to do what was realy right for UM is a GREAT idea and maybe it can be put into reality before we lose more and more of the individuals who truly made a difference for the better at our U. Too many have been left out of the newly re-faced ‘ol boy’ network that still exists but with a crafted PR image that portends to be more in line with modern thought. Maybe this is the imnpetus and the time for change not in the image but in the reality of a great institution and its highest honor.

  2. Peter Lagana says:

    Mr. Feuer makes an excellent point. How could an organization that for the longest time appeared to be dominated by athletics without regard to academics, and which had to be kicked off campus because they didn’t allow women, be deemed “the University’s Highest Honor”. As Mr. Feuer points out, the fact that this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy is an embarrassment to the University of Miami. If President Shalala did, indeed, wear an Iron Arrow robe to the memorial service for Dr. Stanford that is truly disappointing. For apparently she shared the stage with some individuals who, through their actions of protest, provided President Shalala with the opportunity to be inducted into Iron Arrow as a woman. Yet, those people, who served the University so well, have never been inducted into the organization? And that organization has come to commonly be referred to as “the University’s Highest Honor”?

    I support Mr. Feuer’s call for the creation of an honor society in Henry King Stanford’s name and memory that IS worthy of the designation of “the University’s Highest Honor,” recognizing academic excellence, service to the university, attitude, demeanor and ethical conduct.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.