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Pieces of history - readers respond

The series, A Piece of UConn History, has brought new information to light from readers.

A November 17 article about a campus ban on discussion of military training reported that a meeting was held at the Storrs Congregational Church to avoid direct violation of the rule. During the meeting, a student suggested that one speaker step across North Eagleville Road and repeat his remarks on campus.

"This precipitated a near riot and the student who made the suggestion was later doused in a nearby lake," reported Walter Stemmons, author of a history of the University.

After that article appeared, University Relations received a telephone call from David Pinsky, an emeritus extension professor and a member of the Class of 1936.

Pinsky was the student who ended up in the lake but, he said, he wasn't thrown in.

David Pinsky, '36, is an emeritus extension professor. This file photo is from 1977.

"I was on my way to a movie in Willimantic with a friend and out of curiosity I suggested we stop in at the meeting," he said. Some students at the meeting had baseball bats in hand, Pinsky said, and were going to stop others from speaking. He said he was with a middle group of students who had no stand on the issue, but he was concerned about the confrontation and told each group to let the other speak.

Pinsky left the meeting and went to the movie. After returning to his room in Hall Dorm, however, he was visited by a dozen of the students who had been carrying bats, and they indicated they were going to take him to Mirror Lake.

Recognizing the odds were not in his favor, Pinsky walked into the lake. The matter ended there, Pinsky said, adding that he later became good friends with the students who took him down to the lake.

Longest-serving president
Also in the article of November 17, it was noted that Albert Jorgensen served nearly 27 years as president. That prompted a reader to wonder if Jorgensen had the longest term of service to UConn.

Jorgensen's entire career at UConn was as president, so he does hold the longevity record for that post. However, when time on the faculty is added, it is Charles L. Beach who is the president with the longest University service. In addition to his 20 years as president, Beach served nearly 10 years as a member of the faculty.

Charles Lewis Beach Society
Regarding President Beach, another reader noted an oversight in the Nov. 3 article about Beach's role in the life of the University.

The former president established the Louise Crombie Beach Foundation which, through his will, authorized additional purchases to the art collection he gave the University and which became the basis for the William Benton Museum of Art. The article did not mention, however, the Charles Lewis Beach Society, a recognition society established by the Development Office for friends who - like Beach - have remembered the University with a planned or deferred gift from their estate.

Husky resting place
Two stories in this series have discussed the first Husky dog (September 12 , November 17). The first described the Husky's grave at the intersection of North Eagleville Road and Route 195. That brought a question about whether any other mascots are buried on campus. Tradition has it that at least one other Husky - Jonathan IV - has its grave on campus although the site is no longer visible.

UConn's fourth Husky dog, shown here with a student handler at a football game in Memorial Stadium. Jonathan IV died in 1959 and is believed to be buried near the water towers on the Storrs campus.

Photo provided by UConn Athletic Communications

Jonathan IV arrived in September 1949 as a two-year-old from a kennel in Vermont. In 1951, he was welcomed to New York City by the deputy mayor, met adoring Connecticut fans at Grand Central Station, and then was whisked away by taxi to the old Madison Square Garden, where the men's basketball team was set to play St. John's in the NCAA tournament.

"When Jonathan IV reached the Garden, 18,000 people roared as the mascot ran around the outer edges of the court. It was probably the biggest ovation any one dog got at a single event," wrote the Husky trainer Bob Steiner, '52, for an article in the November 1951 issue of the Connecticut Alumnus.

Jonathan IV died in 1959, after a very active career that included nipping Yale's "Handsome Dan" bulldog on the nose, and a dognapping by UMass in 1956. He is buried in a plot near the water towers that overlook the Storrs campus.

Mark J. Roy