Letters Fall 2017

The Good, the Bad, and the Kid: your comments on our Summer 2017 mag.

Letters Fall 2017
Illustration by Tim O’Brien


I just finished reading Brian Green’s article about his experiences on Majuro. Here is another SCU experience in the Marshall Islands, this time on Enewetok in the summer of 1972. Biology professor Frank Flaim had received a grant, courtesy of a prior student, to visit Enewetok to establish a reference collection for the biology department. Enewetok is one of the two atolls where the U.S. conducted above-ground nuclear testing in the ’50s.

I grew up in the Caribbean and had been diving since the age of 15. At the time, I was the only upper-division student in biology with a declared interest in marine biology. I was “invited” (basically told) by Dr. Flaim that we were going to Enewetok for two weeks and that I would be his assistant. I spent two weeks snorkeling and diving with post-docs who needed dive buddies, gathering and preserving specimens for the collection, and generally having a great time as the first undergraduate at the Mid-Pacific Marine Laboratory.

Mike Sixtus ’73
Santee, California

Flooded city in Marshall Islands
Majuro Atoll, March 2016: Seawater again flooded the capital atoll of the Marshall Islands. Photo courtesy Getty Images


Having just returned from a road trip where my wife and I revisited the orphanage where I once lived in Ukiah, I choked up reading the article about Kevin Starr. My younger brother Michael Hankal ’61 and I spent six years at the “home” you mentioned, along with Kevin and other wards of the juvenile court.

Our mother died young—at age 36. Our father, who only had a sixth-grade education, couldn’t handle the stress of raising us and took to the bottle. He dropped us off when I was 8 years old and Mike was 6, and we had very little contact thereafter. In 1951, a single 48-year-old public accountant from Modesto named Helen Souders sent two jackets to the school for the boys who needed them most—us. As head of the Catholic Daughters, she decided to drive up and see the boys who received the jackets. This connection led to her becoming our legal guardian. In Modesto we got in trouble at first, but she never gave up on us. We later moved to San Jose, where she took a job and got us enrolled at Bellarmine College Prep and then at SCU as well. We worked numerous jobs to help pay the tuition at both schools.

But back to Kevin and the home: The facility was run by Dominican nuns, but discipline was delegated to lay prefects who enforced the regimented rules. Older boys became “captains” of the dorms and dining area in order to curry favor with the prefects. There was considerable bullying as a result. I eventually became a captain and gave as bad as I got. Kevin was an easy mark as he was very bookish, and I pulled a prank on him that I forgot about until he reminded me many years later.

About ten years ago, Kevin was giving a lecture at Stanislaus State. Having read his books and seen him on PBS, I was anxious to reconnect with him. After the lecture, I met Kevin and his wife Sheila, and when he recognized me he told Sheila about the prank: that I was the mean guy who peed on him when he was trying to climb a tree with the other boys. What a sad reunion for me, but soon we talked about our mutual experiences at the orphanage—which is now a Buddhist university! Kevin invited me to visit him in San Francisco, but regrettably I never did.

Rest in Peace, Kevin—we overcame with true grit and help from others.

James C. Hankal ’59
Ceres, California


The story in the most recent issue of Santa Clara Magazine on Ken Sears ’55 was great. I got to know Kenny casually when he came as a freshman, because I used to serve him when I worked in the “chow line.” He was very shy and polite, but friendly. I didn’t get to follow him after graduating in 1952 since most of us were in the Army and in Korea. I enjoyed the description of his life after his playing days. He was a real credit to Santa Clara athletics.

Norm Slaught ’52
Pasadena, California

alt="Ken Sears dunks"
Ken Sears ’55 was remembered for his heroics on the court and mild manner off it. Photo courtesy SCU athletics


I had the honor of calling George Chiala ’64 a dear friend. He was like a second father to me. Your article is beautiful, and he would have been so honored to read it.

Michele Lynn Averill
Gilroy, California


Recent news of a $30 million gift from the Leavey Foundation prompted Broncos to celebrate. A couple:

Thank you to the Leavey Foundation for this incredibly generous and transformational gift for SCU.

Heidi LeBaron Leupp ’84
Hillsborough, California

Fantastic! Thank you, Leavey Foundation!

Bryan Neider ’78
Menlo Park, California


I thoroughly enjoyed the article highlighting Bill Stevens and his guide dog Wrangler. It’s wonderful to know SCU is continuing the tradition of jazz instruction. Many readers will remember the remarkable Charlie Lampkin, an accomplished jazz musician, actor, and wonderful lecturer at Santa Clara. He inspired me to really listen to music; his influence is with me to this day, each time I put Duke Ellington on the CD player. Mr. Lampkin had arranged for our jazz class to attend an Ellington concert on the campus of Stanford University, but unfortunately Ellington passed away beforehand. What a treasure Mr. Lampkin was, and what a wonderful thing that his legacy continues with Mr. Stevens.

Robert Murphy ’75

Charles Lampkin plays the piano
Charles Lampkin taught acting as well as music. He would tell his students in the arts: “You can’t go anywhere without knowledge.” Photo courtesy SCU Archives and Special Collections


As publications manager at SCU in the 1980s, I worked on the very first Santa Clara Magazine. I can’t believe how it has grown! Peg Major, the first editor, would be thrilled!

Patricia Fowler
Bainbridge Island, Washington

Our granddaughter is starting SCU this fall. Our son graduated in 1987—Chief Justice Scalia spoke at graduation. Things have really changed.

Douglas and Barbara Stephen
Newport Beach, California

Here’s an interesting fact: One of the last speeches Scalia gave in his life was also at SCU—in October 2015. Check out the story in our digital archives at magazine.scu.edu —Ed.

We enjoy the magazine so much— thank you! Our daughter, Beth Townsend ’84, graduated from SCU.

William H. and Nancy E. Gilbert
Wheatland, California


We’re jazzed to share some summertime news: Santa Clara Magazine was awarded a gold medal for best big-circulation university magazine in the country (and Canada), in a competition against mags with a circulation over 75,000. Judging was done by our peers, with the awards made by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in Washington, D.C., in June.

This is a first for us. Judges lauded the mag for being “a smart, deep publication with beautiful design, quality photo selection, and rich printing on uncoated stock.” (Aw, shucks.) Silver and bronze medal winners included magazines from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School.

CASE also honored us with a gold medal for best individual photograph for “World Refugee Day” by Kristóf Hölvényi (Summer 2016) and a silver medal for best column or opinion piece for “The Art of George Tooker” by Dana Gioia (Summer 2016).

More good news: The Catholic Press Association (CPA) named us Alumni Magazine of the Year and noted, “If this magazine is a good indication, Santa Clara is a hopping place.” We couldn’t agree more. Judges also recognized us with awards for best photograph in an alumni magazine for “World Refugee Day” by Kristóf Hölvényi; best profile in an alumni magazine for “An American Story” by Steven Boyd Saum; best illustration in any publication for “Dr. Jerome” by Anna+Elena=Balbusso; best editorial title and lead-in page in any publication for “Let There Be Light” by Robert Zimmerman; and best layout of an article in a national general interest publication for “Dr. Jerome” by David DeCosse. The CPA presented multiple honorable mentions to the magazine: best feature article in an alumni magazine for “Mission Critical” by Harold Gutmann; best multiple photo feature package for “Where are they taking us?’’ with photos and words by Colleen Sinsky ’10; and best review in any publication for “The Art of George Tooker” by Dana Gioia. —Ed. 

First edition: Fall 1981. Contributors included Christiaan Lievestro, Jerome Kroth, Theodore Mackin, S.J., then- President William Rewak, S.J., and Michael S. Malone ’75, MBA ’77
This Summer Girls Ran the World

Swift Clara, the Bey Hive, honorary mayorships, and more: This summer, fanbases of mainly women helped rebound the U.S. economy.

A Billion for Tomorrow

A billion in support of scholarships, research, and facilities. Find out what it all means

Super Bloom!

What happens after the rains fall can be glorious.


Play—whether via imagination or with perspective—never stops being important to a person’s development.