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The University Magazine

Letters

In the 1950s, RIT's reputation already spanned the globe

Several friends were able to identify Shibani Basu '62 (printing), whose photo appeared in the 'From the Archives' page in the Fall 2009 issue of RIT: The University Magazine.

How nice to see the picture of Shibani Basu (From the Archives Fall 2009)!

I knew if I looked deep enough in my nostalgia trunk, I would find it. The photograph of Shibani is from 1958 (not 1960). It was taken by Rochester Times-Union staff photographer Peter B. Hickey. It appeared in the Times-Union of Tuesday, Oct. 7, 1958. It was part of a full-page feature – "From the Entire World . . . They Come Here to Learn" – on international students at RIT. (The article states that RIT had 60 international students out of a total student population of 2,200.)

An article profiling Shibani also appeared in the Oct. 24, 1958, issue of RIT Reporter, the student newspaper.

As is evident from the Reporter profile, Shibani was an older student when she came to RIT, and already had an accomplished academic and employment background. She came to RIT under the auspices of the printing firm for which she worked in Calcutta.

Shibani and I were dorm-mates in Frances Baker Hall, the wonderful old Third Ward house that held 16-20 students and served as the annex to the main women's dormitory, Kate Gleason Hall. As such, we were required to take turns at evening telephone duty for the dorm – I know, I know, one of those quaint, and unlamented, customs from the dark-ages days of the past.

One evening Shibani asked me if I could possibly switch phone duty with her. She wanted to go see and hear the young candidate who was making an appearance at, I think, the War Memorial. So I took the phone duty and Shibani went to see John F. Kennedy, shortly before he was elected president.

I still have the sari she gave me. I remember her fondly and think of her often.

Sandra Meek Greenberg '62 (photo illustration) Crofton, Md.

I can tell you something about the photo of Ms. Shibani Basu. The picture was taken in the Linotype-Intertype Composition Lab on the second floor of the Clark Building on the old downtown campus. The second floor housed the School of Printing.

The typesetting machine she is sitting at is a high base Model 5 Linotype. I taught Linotype-Intertype Machine Composition starting in 1965 until the 1970s. This was the way type was set before the digital technology of today.

Emery Schneider, professor emeritus
School of Printing Management and Sciences
Hendersonville, N.C.

Shibani Basu was in one or two of my marketing classes during the time she was at RIT. She was a mature and able student who sought to maximize the opportunity she had to study abroad. We corresponded for some years after she left RIT, but I lost touch with her in recent decades.

Eugene Fram, professor emeritus
E. Philip Saunders College of Business
Palo Alto, Calif.

Your University Magazine came in this afternoon's mail and as usual I started going through it from the back page.

Such a surprise greeted me when I saw an old friend seated at a Mergenthaler Linotype hot-metal typesetting machine – probably in the typesetting lab where Monotype, Intertype, and hand setting via a California case were part of the hardware.

Shibani, I believe, was the only female in our class (printing, 1962). She was older than the Korean War veterans who attended along with mostly high school graduates and a few others from industry, e.g. Don Gilmore, John Loudis, Paul Touhey et al.

Conversations between Shibani and me were few and far between.

Shibani was a very serious student and I wasn't. There were a few, however, beyond "Hello" and "How are you," probably about Calcutta and The Bronx.

Thank you for causing me to recall some of the times at RIT.

John L. Sweeney '62 (printing)
Palmer, Pa.

We welcome letters on subjects covered in the magazine and of broad interest to our readers, as long as they are respectful and not insulting to any individual or group. We publish as many as we can, subject to space limitations. We edit for space, clarity, and style. Write to The University Magazine, University News Services, Rochester Institute of Technology, 132 Lomb Memorial Drive – Bldg. 86, Rochester, NY 14623. E-mail can be sent to umagwww@rit.edu.