Go the Distance
Viva la VEISHEA!
I enjoyed the editorial and the article about the 20 most intriguing people on the ISU campus (spring 2006). I was curious about someone just mentioned in the editorial, without a name. He (or she!) was described as the “world’s foremost authority on starch.” A couple of people there come to mind, so I would appreciate knowing just who you had “crowned” so I can congratulate them.
I am a chemist with the USDA in New Orleans who studies polysaccharides, including starch. My father was Dexter French, a professor of chemistry and, at one time, chairman of the Department of Biochemistry
and Biophysics at ISU.
Editor’s Note: Jay-lin Jane, professor of food science and human nutrition, is said to be the world’s foremost authority on starch and how to manipulate it.
Ask the Expert
Please tell Ron Werner-Wilson that his answers to your questions about “happily married” are “right on” (Around Campus, spring 2006). Respect, friendship, common interest, consideration, and affection all match our experience, and we must be doing something right since we have our 66th wedding anniversary coming up in June. It gets better every year.
’53 Mechanical Engineering
Laguna Woods, Calif.
An Iraqi hero
I found the article about Dr. Sawsan Al-Sharifi most interesting, but also scary. I’ve been reading news for some time about how our government has forced Iraq’s law to now require farmers to not save their own seed, which has been the practice for hundreds of year and which has been a successful, economic way for farmers to operate.
Now, as I understand it, they are required, by law, to purchase genetically engineered seed each year. I can’t imagine this is profitable for the poor farmers. It’s only helping large American corporations and is destroying a many-centuries-old method of successfully farming in a situation entirely different from farming in the USA. The article states that Dr. Sharifi is involved with developing crop and seed technologies for Iraq. I devoutly hope that the farmers have some say in this and just don’t get this American technology shoved down their unwilling throats!
Barbara Short Marseille**
Port Townsend, Wash.
On our island off the coast of Maine, we get lots of magazines, from Montana to Chili Pepper to The New Yorker, but yours is my favorite. I feel that I have an ISU outpost here on the island. Born when my parents were ISC students and with a couple of degrees myself from the college where I was on the faculty briefly about 40 years ago, I have fond memories of Ames; your magazine helps keep those memories burnished and active as I stumble into senescence. Thanks.
’55 Indust. Admin., ’57 M.S. Psych.
Little Deer Isle, Maine
Seeking thrill seekers
Last fall, we put a small query in VISIONS magazine seeking the names of Iowa State alumni who might be considered extreme athletes.
It didn’t take long before letters began flooding in. Here is just a sample of what we received:
“I read your call for thrill seekers in the recent VISIONS. I spent much of my 20s and 30s mountain climbing, both vertical rock and high altitude expeditions…. If you’re looking for ‘harrowing stories,’ I have a few…”
“I’m writing to tell you about my husband’s greatest athletic accomplishment….”
“I ran a marathon last year at Storm Lake, Iowa. I had my bike at the finish line and biked 500 miles north to Duluth, Minn. I ran [another] marathon the next weekend. …”
“Attached is a picture of Charlie Wittmack and me at Mount Everest Base Camp (elevation 17,600 feet). Charlie attended ISU…and is the only Iowan ever to summit Mt. Everest (May 2003). He led this three-week Mt. Everest Base Camp trek in May 2004.”
“My father, a hog producer, recently initiated and completed a 55-mile run/walk as a fund-raiser for Farm Safety 4 Just Kids… He started running the hills and gravel roads in the last three years as a result of a bet from a friend….”
“I have just returned from my third summer trip to Iceland where I hiked and camped outside… I have also hiked nine of the 3,000 peaks in Japan, I am presently hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I also ski every December in the Italian Alps. I am getting ready to celebrate my 63rd birthday….”
“I started running ultramarathons about two years back, including one attempt so far at a 100-mile race….”
“My brother went on a six-week expedition canoeing down the Seal River inside the Arctic Circle….”
“I saw your request in the latest VISIONS for alumni who push their endurance limits. I may fit the bill….”
“During a semester studying abroad in Australia, I fell in love with Scuba diving. Over my 20 dives, I’ve watched Fijians hand-feed sharks, dove 60 feet underwater at night with only a flashlight in the Great Barrier Reef, and swam with sting rays in Grand Cayman….”
“I have a sister-in-law who has run 10 Ironman Triathlons and many more marathons….”
“Shortly after moving to Las Vegas 16 years ago, I experienced the thrill of hiking down the Grand Canyon … along a steep and difficult route marked only by rock cairns….”
“I rode from Venice, La., to International Falls, Minn., five weeks and 2,200 miles. Ten years ago I went from Long Beach, Calif., to Washington, D.C., 10 weeks and 5,200 miles….”
“May I recommend my friend, Kirk, who has an extensive background in mountain climbing….”
“I’ve done endurance snow-bike racing, 24-hour adventure races, and I am currently training for a 100-mile mountain race. …”
“I am a long-distance endurance motorcycle rider and a member of the Iron Butt Association….”
“… at age 65 I tied a bungee cord to my ankles and jumped out of a hot air balloon. In subsequent years, I made my first parachute jump, climbed a fourteener, surf kayaked, sailed a boat, solo trekked into the desert, and when I was 69 I trained for and ran my first marathon.”
“Since college, I have been competing in mountain bike races as a way to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors. For me, the sport has been rather addictive….”
It was no easy task choosing just a few athletes to feature in this issue of VISIONS. We thank all of the alumni – and their friends and family – who wrote to us. See the finished feature, “Go the distance," under "Cover Story."