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Letter: Wilson alumnae are strong

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Dear Editor:

As a Chambersburg senior looking at college options, I chose Wilson because of the atmosphere, the majors and because I could have a pet in my room (Hey, a girl has to have priorities).

I knew very little about Wilson, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way, but I developed a love for the college. I would like to let you know some of what Wilson alumnae have done for Wilson in the past three months:

In 26 days, they raised $81,808 for the unrestricted fund at Wilson solely through word of mouth and the Pines and Maples website. In response, President Mistick sent a letter to Wilson alumnae stating that, “the effort did not even begin to address the financial needs of the College.”

Alumnae sponsored a Girl Scout cookie order so that every student could have her own box of cookies. February also saw the alumnae revival of the defunct Aunt Sarah program — where interested students are matched with an alumna who sends small gifts and notes. To date, 96 students have been partnered with an alumna.

Wilson supporters are using an Amazon fundraising program that earns a commission for purchases, at no expense to the buyer. The money goes directly to the Alumnae Student Outreach and Support Fund, established in February at the behest of alumnae. (

To date, we have unsuccessfully attempted to engage the administration in a discussion to explain its rush to the coed decision and other issues.

We have been told that Wilson’s decision to become coeducational is due to the college’s $31 million debt. The March 1 letter from President Mistick states that, “ order to avert coeducation, the annual fund would need to raise an additional $5.7 million every year on top of the current $1.3 million goal that the College and our alumnae base struggle to generate annually.”

However, Mistick contradicted herself in a March 5 interview on WITF radio stating, “Thirty-one million dollars is not an unrealistic number... In the scope of things, that if you look at the size of the institution, our operational budget and our endowment, it is actually a pretty reasonable amount of debt.”

Alumnae also received a letter from Leslie Durgin, chair of the Commission on Shaping the Future of Wilson College dated March 15.

In that letter, Ms. Durgin accuses alumnae of “invent[ing] a different narrative” because we disagree about the data we have been given. This could not be further from the truth.

A negative picture has been painted of Wilson alumnae, who want nothing more than an honest response to the question of why the college chose so quickly to become coed without considering other avenues to alleviate its debt.

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We are frustrated and disheartened by the process thus far, meanwhile we continue to support Wilson College to the best of our ability.

We would like to see all of the commission’s recommendations put into place, with the sole exception of the recommendation to go coed.

We would like to see the administration engage with the alumnae in a positive and respectful way, acknowledging us as a positive resource, rather than viewing us as an adversary.

We want Wilson to thrive because, as noted by Judge Keller in his historic decision more than 30 years ago, and paraphrasing Daniel Webster, Wilson is a small college, but there are those of us who love her.

Sharon Jaymes Falk

Allentown Class of ‘93

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Obituaries for 09/08/1997

  • Robert Bosler, 37, of 224 W. Main St., Walnut Bottom, died Sunday, Sept. 7, 1997, in Polyclinic Medical Center in Harrisburg.

    Ewing Brothers Funeral Home, 630 S. Hanover St., Carlisle, will announce funeral arrangements when they are completed.

  • Rachel I. "Sammy" Brandt, 82, of 934 Baltimore Pike, Gardners, died Sunday Sept. 7, 1997, in her home.

    Born Jan. 15, 1915, in York County, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Sarah Shaffer Bupp and the widow of Ralph "Dutch" Brandt, who died May 16, 1988.

    Mrs. Brandt was retired from the former Blough-Wagner Co. in Mt. Holly Springs and was a former employee of C.H. Masland Co., Carlisle.

    She was a member of the Old Bellaire Chapter Order of Eastern Star No. 375.

    Surviving are a son, Ralph Brandt of York; three daughters, Joan McNew of Gettysburg, Judy Brandt of Grantham and June Showers of Gardners; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two sisters, Pauline McCans of Hatfield and Hazel Johnson of Gardners.

    Services will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Gibson-Hollinger Funeral Home, 501 N. Baltimore Ave., Mt. Holly Springs. The Rev. Sandra Schultz will officiate.

    Burial will be in Cumberland Valley Memorial Gardens in West Pennsboro Township.

    Friends may call Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home. An Eastern Star memorial service will be held Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. in the funeral home.

  • Services for Glen Isaac Kunkle, 89, formerly of 5221 Cumberland Highway, Chambersburg, will be at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home, 333 Falling Spring Road, Chambersburg.

    Masonic services will be conducted by members of George Washington Lodge 143 F&AMPAM at 11:15 a.m.

    Mr. Kunkle died Friday, Sept. 5, 1997, at Manor Care Health Services, Chambersburg.

    Born May 11, 1908, in Williamson, he was a son of the late David W. and Grace Carrie Rife Kunkle. He was the widower of Dorothy Jones Kunkle, who died Aug. 29, 1996.

    Mr. Kunkle retired in 1954 from the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., where he had been employed since 1935. He formerly was a wood pattern maker apprentice from 1926 to 1930 at Chambersburg Engineering Co. and then worked for General Steel Corp. of Chester and Frog, Switch &AMP Manufacturing Co. of Carlisle.

    He was a member of Greenvillage Church of God, Chambersburg; Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia F&AMPAM, Washington, D.C.; and a life member of William R. Singleton Hope Lodge No. 7 F&AMPAM of Lebanon.

    Surviving is his sister, Elva Stambaugh of Chambersburg.

    The Rev. Ronald E. Dull will officiate at Tuesday's service. Burial will be in Norland Cemetery, Chambersburg.

    Memorial contributions may be made to ManorCare Health Services, 1070 Stouffer Ave., Chambersburg 17201, or to Greenvillage Church of God, 5164 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg 17201.

  • Services for Gerald B. "Base" Strayer, 80, of 115 S. Prince St., Shippensburg, will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Prince Street United Brethren Church in Shippensburg.

    He died Saturday, Sept. 6, 1997, at Chambersburg Hospital.

    Born March 4, 1917, in Southampton Township in Cumberland County, he was the son of the late David F. and Annabelle Eutzy Strayer.

    He retired in 1975 from the former Hershey Creamery, Shippensburg, where he worked for 40 years. After retirement he worked as a custodian at Kmart in Chambersburg for eight years and at the Beistle Co. in Shippensburg for four years.

    And for 25 years he served as the utility groundskeeper for Shippensburg Community Fair.

    Mr. Strayer was a member of the Prince Street United Brethren Church and Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 1299, Carlisle. He was a life member and past commander of Durff-Kuhn VFW Post 6168, Shippensburg.

    He was an Army veteran of World War II.

    Surviving are his two daughters, Dixie L. Whorley and Diana B. Strayer, both of Shippensburg; a sister, Pearl Allen, of Shippensburg; three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.

    He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy B. Beltz Strayer, who died May 16, 1993; six brothers and two sisters.

    The Rev. George D. Strayer will officiate at Wednesday's service. Burial will be in Spring Hill Cemetery, Shippensburg.

    Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home Inc., 112 W. King St., Shippensburg.

    Memorial contributions may be made to Cumberland Valley Hose Company Ambulance Fund, P.O. Box 366, Shippensburg 17257 or to the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter Inc., 2325 Country Road, Chambersburg 17202.

  • Services for George K. Gerhardt, 82, of Carlisle, formerly of Bloserville, will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Hoffman-Roth Funeral Home, 219 N. Hanover St., Carlisle.

    He died Saturday, Sept. 6, 1997, at Sarah Todd Memorial Home in Carlisle.

    Born Feb. 6, 1915, in Carlisle, he was the son of the late Reuben W. and Anna W. Gilbert Gerhardt.

    He was a retired meat cutter from the former Carlisle Food Market, a member of God's Missionary Church, Bloserville, and an Army veteran of World War II.

    Surviving are his wife, Ruth A. Norrell Gerhardt; a son, Wayne Belmont of North Carolina; a brother, Eugene Gerhardt of Carlisle; a sister, Milly Gerhardt of Carlisle, two grandchildren, five stepgrandchildren, two great-grandchildren, five stepgreat-grandchildren and a stepgreat-great-grandchild.

    The Revs. Clarence E. Dupert and David D. Deetz Sr. will officiate at Thursday's services. Burial will be in Upper Frankford Brick Church Cemetery.

    Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the funeral home.

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