“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s he transition that’s troublesome.” Isaac Asimov
“‘All men are liars,’ said Roberta Muldoon, who knew this was true because she had once been a man.” John Irving, “The World According to Garp”
At a retirement reception for Joe Pelliacciotti and David Malik, Chancellor William Lowe referred to the honorees as transitioning. That evening Bruce Jenner used the word in an interview with Diane Sawyer to describe his transitioning to a woman. So far as I know, the former IUN vice chancellors are comfortable in their male personas. Both have been with IU for 35 years, and Malik is returning to IUPUI’s Chemistry department.
I also learned Friday that former acting chancellor Herman “Hy” Feldman passed away at age 88. In our history of IUN, “Educating the Calumet Region” Paul Kern and I wrote:
The early Seventies could aptly be called the Herman Feldman years. Feldman played a key role in campus planning, moving from chair of Arts and Sciences into an administrative deanship and then assuming the post of acting chancellor. One of the “Old Gang” who favored keeping Liberal Arts the bedrock of the curriculum and making IUN a miniature IU, he was ultimately unsuccessful in seeking the permanent chancellorship.
Somewhat embittered that he was passed over for permanent chancellor, in part, he believed, because he was Jewish but also because the Business and Education divisions sought a leader more amenable to their needs, Feldman never returned to campus, so far as I know, after he transitioned into retirement.
At the Faculty Organization meeting Neil Goodman recalled being good friends with Hy Feldman’s son Ted and that he would see Hy at family gatherings after he retired. Hy would always greet him in Yiddish and next ask about “my campus,” which he did so much to nurture. Dean Mark Hoyert eulogized Feldman with his typical verve. In a written statement Hoyert recalled the university’s early days after moving to Glen Park:
When Gary Main (Tamarack) first opened, the faculty shared one communal office. There was one phone hanging on the wall for the entire faculty to share. Hy was tasked with trying to convince Bloomington to allow them to get at least one more phone. He called Bloomington and made his pitch. The request was greeted with incredulity. “How could it be possible they needed another phone? Who were they calling all the time! Surely that volume of calls could not be justifiable.” And most irritatingly, “clearly the one phone was sufficient and working well; after all, he was using it to call them.”
Hy told a story about requesting some paper, some pencils, and an adding machine. Bloomington could understand the paper and pencils, those were appropriate supplies for an extension teacher, but they put Hy through the ringer for the adding machine. “Why would you need that? Why can’t you just add it up using the paper and pencils we are giving you?”
I first met Hy in April of 1988 . . . and was especially privileged to benefit from his incredible wisdom earned through years of experience and his phantasmagoria of resulting stories. . . . Once, when asked why we had been charged with completing yet another pointless and time consuming report, he pithily responded, “The bureaucracy needs its chow.” Another time, Hy was asked if the university had grown more pernicious or whether we just hadn’t noticed it before. His response was that “the enemy was always with us.”
Thank you Hy for your years of service and guidance. We will remember the portly man with the rumpled suit and crooked smile. We will try to follow your lead and strive to build a comprehensive university to serve the region. We will feed the bureaucracy when necessary, will keep our eyes out for the enemy, and will resort to illusions to the Russian army only when absolutely necessary. Alav Hasholom Haim Feldman.
An obit using an image of a young Herman Feldman stated that he served in the U.S. army in Japan and used the GI Bill to obtain a PhD from the University of Nebraska. His family added: “In retirement he became an avid flower and vegetable gardener, wine maker and woodworker. He left several woodworking projects undone and books unread because he could not stop being active and curious.”
above, Joseph Ferrandino; below, Demetra Andrews
At the retirement reception I met Marketing professor Demetra Andrews and SPEA professor Joseph Ferrandino. Good old David Parnell, who attends virtually all university functions, was wearing a leather jacket similar to my old one that I outgrew and gave to Phil, which subsequently elicited several compliments from black men he’s passed on the street. I refrained from telling Parnell that, uncertain how Demetra would react. Not surprisingly, she seemed to know Parnell and was very personable; I’d like to know her better. Greeting Pamela Lowe, I commented that Jake and Elwood did a good job in reference to earlier remarks her husband and Chuck Gallmeier made. The two of them played the Blues Brothers in recent ads about the university.
Richard and Ragen Hatcher in 2011
Evelyn Bottando offered me a chocolate concoction on a stick that City Council candidate Ragen Hatcher brought to a rally that Eve helped coordinate. Campaign manager Carolyn McCrady drafted Eve into service. That evening on the phone with Mayor Hatcher we commiserated over George Van Til and Mary Elgin being unfairly targeted by federal prosecutors, something to which Hatcher himself was no stranger while in office. He is justly proud that his daughter is still striving to make Gary a better place despite all the pitfalls in her path.