April 29, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 15

current issue
archive / search

    In the News

    The Chronicle’s biweekly column “In the News” offers a digest of commentary and quotations by a few of the University faculty members, students and alumni who have been headlining the news in recent weeks.

    In addition to announcements of the Pulitzer Prizes Tuesday, April 13, by print and broadcast media outlets across the country, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and USA Today newspapers, and WMAQ, WFLD and WBBM television stations, Mark Strand, Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry, was featured in two Chicago newspapers about his art. Strand, Professor on the Committee on Social Thought, was interviewed twice by Chicago Sun-Times reporters, the day the award was announced and the day after when reporters visited his Shakespeare class. The features referred not only to the many honors Strand has received––he was also the fourth U.S. poet laureate from 1990 to 1991––but also described him as a modest man who found bittersweet irony in winning the prize. He was in New York City writing a memorial tribute for the only editor his poetry has ever known, when he heard news of the award, read one Sun-Times article. “I’m very happy I won. But it was ironic. To win a Pulitzer Prize having had, in a sense, your collaborator die is rather sad, I think.” Strand told the reporters little will change in his life. “My work is my work. A prize is nice, but it isn’t the end of the world.”

    The findings of a University study that have been compiled in a book titled The Ambitious Generation; America’s Teen-agers, Motivated but Directionless, co-authored by Barbara Schneider, Senior Social Scientist with the National Opinion Research Center, were reported in a story published by the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday, April 18. Some of the study’s conclusions show teen-agers of the ’90s generation do not develop close-knit ties to friends, spend more time going out with a group of friends rather than dating and the majority––90 percent––expect to attend some type of college. “They see higher education as their safety net and they’re hedging their bets by planning on graduate school,” said Schneider in the interview. Schneider also was interviewed about the book and the study results on WMAQ-AM radio.

    Mark Krupnick, Professor in the Divinity School, wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Monday, April 19 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times. Krupnick wrote about a couple, who in a newspaper advertisement, are offering $50,000 to an egg donor who meets their specifications: a college-age female of 5-foot-10-inches who has an SAT score of 1400-plus and who comes from a family with no major medical problems. Krupnick asked, “How do they (the couple) think about their responsibility for the real-life person who will inevitably differ from their dream child? It’s possible the parents, disappointed by the child’s failure to match their fantasy, will learn to accept what nature and science have given them. But I wouldn’t be optimistic about that,” Krupnick wrote.

    In a New York Times article about the boom in museum expansions across the country as more and more people become patrons of fine art, Neil Harris, Professor in History, commented on the possible effects of such expansions. “There is nothing inherently unsustainable” about high attendance, said Harris in the article. “But it is expensive to sustain. A large number of people will go to certain exhibitions, but not others. Then there is pressure on museums to mount exhibitions that draw.”