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Tribute to a Professor with Heart, Ken Long

I was deeply saddened to read of the passing of Professor Kenneth E. Long ’52 (ICQ 2006/2).

As a 21-year old IC senior, I felt lost, shy, and sometimes lonely. In fall 1991 Professor Long instructed my Driver and Traffic Safety class and helped me to be more outspoken and articulate.

Part of his class involved student oral presentations on various subjects related to drive/traffic safety. Professor Long patiently helped me to outline, research, organize, and deliver my report to my student peers. Ultimately my communication skills improved. I learned to speak clearly and appear confident, and I went from a high level of fear to a high level of confidence. 

Towards semester’s end, Professor Long gave me an opportunity to earn extra credit. He asked me to create a drunk driving display for the bulletin board outside his office. While collecting brochures, fliers, and other materials about DUI, breathalyzers, and blood alcohol content, I realized that too many people needlessly die every day due to foolish and reckless behavior associated with drinking and driving.

On graduation day in May ’92, my parents joined me at the ceremony, and afterward helped pack up my things in the family station wagon. After the good-byes, my dad began to drive away from Ithaca College for what might be the last time. As we reached Route 96B, my father braked for a moment. As I looked out the side window, I saw Professor Long standing a few feet away. I waved a last goodbye, and he warmly waved back, silently wishing me well.

My regret since that overcast day almost 15 years ago is this: I had always intended to return to Ithaca College to visit Professor Long and spend time with him catching up, but I never made that visit. So my graduation day from IC is also the last day I saw Professor Long alive.

Composing this letter has been extremely difficult. I will conclude by saying that Ken Long was an outstanding teacher. He was a kind man, soft-spoken and gentle. He was a spirited man of wit and humor. My heart goes out to his family, friends, colleagues, and all the students he educated over the years.

Thank you for everything, Professor Long. God bless you. Rest easy, sir.

Charles Gruhn ’92

Montebello, California

Disputing Statement in Haudenosaunee Story

The article “Reclaiming Part of a Lost Homeland” (ICQ 2006/2, pages 4–5) was especially interesting to me as a former resident of Watkins Glen, New York, which adjoins the lands once the home of the Seneca Queen Catharine.

The first paragraph of the article says that General George Washington dispatched the Sullivan-Clinton campaign in 1779 with the intent to confiscate lands of the Indians in central New York for the purpose of division and subsequent distribution to soldiers at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. I would appreciate knowing the primary written source relied upon by the author(s) for that statement, as I have read that such intent has never been substantiated by other authors, e.g., Max M. Mintz in Seeds of Empire, New York University Press, 1999.

The article might have provided a more balanced view by noting that most historians consider the Iroquois alliance with the British in raiding the many frontier settlements such as Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, to have been Washington’s primary reason for the campaign.

I would like to add that I appreciate the opportunity to receive and read the Quarterly.

William G. Ruger ’58

Apex, North Carolina

Jack Rossen, associate professor and chair of the anthropology department who was featured in the story, responds: The Sullivan Campaign of 1779 and its aftermath were complex events. The great paradox of the campaign was why George Washington sent a third of the Continental Army to the wilderness at the height of the Revolutionary War. There were economic and geopolitical reasons.

The supposed alliance of groups like the Cayuga with the British has always been a cliché, often repeated in books and newspaper articles, and it was used as one official justification of the campaign.

There is, however, good documentation of Cayuga neutrality. Likewise, there were a few famous raids before the campaign, but raiding dramatically increased afterward as Native peoples were displaced. Historians since Alexander Flick in the 1940s have commented on the formation of the military tract following the campaign and the distribution of lands to veterans, along with the geopolitical opening of a pathway to the west — indeed, the precursors of the Erie Canal and Manifest Destiny.

There is still much research to do on this significant yet neglected historical event. I recommend Barbara Mann’s book, George Washington’s War on Native America (Praeger Press, 2005) for the most up-to-date research. Whether this is a “balanced view of history” or not, I think it is important that we not brush the dark side under the rug.

Clarification on Music Deans

In the “Passings” tribute to Conrad Rawski (ICQ 2006/2), it says, “. . . he became dean of the School of Music in 1949.” 

I was a music student at Ithaca College from 1948 to 1952 and remember Conrad Rawski as my instructor of music history. Also, what happened to Dean Rebmann, who was succeeded by Dean Ehlert during the same period? 

Does my old memory fail me?

Robert Navas-Page ’52

Wall, New York

Editor’s response: Your memory is actually quite good. In any case, a little confusion would be understandable, as there were school name changes during this time.

Victor Rebmann was dean of the music school from 1936 to 1950. Before his retirement in June 1950 his title was changed to reflect restructuring to the School of Fine Arts (which lasted 1943 to 1952). Jackson Ehlert was dean of that school from 1950 to 1952, when it changed back to the School of Music. At that time Conrad Rawski, who had joined the faculty in 1940, became dean (our report was off by one year) and remained so until 1957, when Craig McHenry ’30, M.S. ’46, took over. McHenry retired in 1973 and returned as acting dean 1974–5.

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