Environmental science

Correspondence | Lehigh University

Remembering Professor Aurie Dunlap

Thank you for asking about memorable professors. There were several, and this is an appropriate time to remember one.

I have never forgotten Professor Aurie Dunlap, during the very early days of the Korean War, which started in 1950. (During the fall of 1950, after the football team was having a great season, at least two left college for Korea, and would not return.*) Prof. Dunlap referred to the writings of Hitler and Stalin, as well as Mao, to predict the Vietnam War. As I recall, he was in close contact with the State Department, and his message was that dictators will often display their intentions early. The Vietnam conflict may have smoldered, but did not erupt until Eisenhower had left office, but it did occur as Mr. Dunlap predicted. *Gus LaSasso died in combat; Walt Pullar enlisted promptly at the end of the season, retiring a career marine.

On another note, the recent item regarding solar panels on the Goodman Campus leads me to wonder if a thorough study—covering all start-to-finish factors—has been done to compare the benefits of installing a solar panel and storage facility vs. the environmental benefit lost by removal of the trees that those panels displace?? Most environmental studies seem uninterested in including the environmental impacts of panel and battery manufacture, and site access, vs. the less impactful life of a forest, whose contribution to CO2 removal is unaffected by cloudy days. Trees are even able to recreate without consuming measurable energy!!

Grant Hansel ’53

Remembering Professor James Sturm

I was saddened to see the news about Dr. [James] Sturm. [In Memoriam, Spring 2022] He was a bright spot in the otherwise difficult course of Physical Chemistry that was required for all Chem E [chemical engineering] majors. It was a two-seminar course with the second part in the beginning of the junior year. I remember clearly that it was the first class of the year starting at 7:45 am, which was before most 19-year-olds would be functional in the early ’70s. And at 7:45 am Dr. [Roland] Lovejoy proceeded to pick up where he left off in the spring and filled four chalkboards with notes. Tough start to the year. However, the lab section classes with Dr. Sturm were always enjoyable and informative, and always a joke (based on chemistry, of course) or a clever play on words.

As a Chem E, I had two electives in the four years and one was Films. I wrote, directed and filmed what Prof. [George] McDonald called a modern Pop Art Science Fiction film-“Return of the Son of Monster Magnet” (with apologies to Frank Zappa and Andy Warhol). Dr. Sturm agreed to the starring role as the mad scientist Dr. Zanzibar along with the Fritz Lab Testing Machine as The Monster Magnet. Dr. Sturm showed up with all his lines and actions memorized, and we never needed a second take. And he kept a straight face while acting alongside 19- [and] 20-year-old students. Not easy as the SuperHeroes in the film were saving the day between takes by running around the campus in costumes, and of course it was prospective student day. Interesting reactions from the students and parents!

Dr. Sturm was a great professor at Lehigh and fun to be around as we learned a lot of chemistry. Lehigh has lost a great asset.

Dan Miller ’74

The Lehigh Seal

The Fall issue of the Lehigh alumni Bulletin ended with a piece on four objects which represent the traditions and ideals of Lehigh. I would like to correct a serious, but all too common, omission in this article.

Most alumni have no idea that Lehigh was founded with the help of the Protestant Episcopal Church, the denomination to which Asa Packer was so dedicated. He was close friends with Bishop William Bacon Stevens, a true scholar and man of God, who helped Packer design and organize what would become Lehigh University. As a result of this affiliation, they were very strategic in creating a university that would develop the moral and, as well as, intellectual fiber of its students. …

In light of this, I was concerned, but not surprised, to see the seal of the university described as “a sun over a book on which a heart is superimposed.” This description provides no indication of the actual meaning of the seal, which is immensely profound. The seal is a depiction of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as described in the minutes of the Board of Trustees in the fall of 1865:

“The seal of the Lehigh University is of an oval shape. In the upper part a Sun on which is inscribed the word Lux ​​(Light); below is an open Bible on which is written Veritas (Truth); on the Bible lies a heart bearing the inscription Amor (Love); thus bringing in the three Persons of the Godhead, the Ever Blessed trinity; the God of Love, Christ as the Light of the world, and the Holy Spirit as the inspiration of the Word and the Spirit of Truth. At the same time, these emblems indicate the love to God and man that will characterize this noble endowment; the Truth of Religion which the University will seek to diffuse and the Light of Science and Philosophy which will illuminate the mind with truth and celestial wisdom. ….”

History is our friend and we would do well to present it accurately, even if it may not fit our current narrative. Lehigh’s founders were always open to those who do not share these beliefs, but wanted the university to have more than a mere pursuit of knowledge as its foundation.

Rich Earl ’80

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What lessons do you have for Lehigh’s newest graduates?

Share your thoughts by sending a letter to the editor. It can be sent via email to maa614@lehigh.edu or via snail mail to:

Lehigh University Communications and Public Affairs
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