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Letters for Spring 2022

Letters for Spring 2022

Lauren Brown portrait


I’ve been here long enough to remember the old Maryland Book Exchange, the long-shuttered Little Tavern and the blocky, beat-up Knox Boxes.

The current crop of Terps, though, sees a high-rise apartment building anchored by a Target Express; a sleek new City Hall; and the Terrapin Row neighborhood with its swanky pool and fitness center.

They’re all part of a dramatic, ongoing makeover of the community now called Greater College Park. The transformation might shock those of you who haven’t been to campus in a few years.

That was the thinking behind our cover story in this issue of Terp: to show just how much the Baltimore Avenue corridor has changed. Our office’s photo archivist, Gail Rupert M.L.S. ’10, led the effort to scour digital collections of the Library of Congress, National Archives, Maryland State Archives and University Libraries and to sort through old photos shared by the city of College Park. She found amazing images: a 1930s cornfield where the luxury Hotel now stands, a 1940s Howard Johnson’s (later Plato’s Diner) on what’s turning into a high-end apartment community, and a 1980s strip club where new student housing opens this fall.

We hope you also gape and gawk at these before-and-after pairings as we share the latest updates on Greater College Park.

We’ll also introduce you to a little-known hero in our nation’s civil rights history: Bernice “Bunny” Sandler Ed.D. ’69, the force behind the landmark federal legislation known as Title IX, which became law 50 years ago this summer. If your or your daughter’s education included playing organized sports, seeking justice against sexual misconduct, or earning an advanced degree in a STEM field, you can probably credit the late Bunny Sandler. Writer Karen Shih ’09 tells the story of the flagrant gender discrimination Sandler faced—including here at UMD—and how it drove her to create and advocate for Title IX. Be on the lookout this year for more celebrations on campus and beyond about Sandler’s legacy.

For lighter, feline fare, meet the Terp behind perhaps the most popular “cat cafés” in America. Crumbs & Whiskers, which Kanchan Singh ’12 opened in Hollywood and D.C., has drawn the likes of celebrities Kate Walsh and Jennifer Garner seeking kitty cuddles; it was even featured in a funny skit with Neil Patrick Harris on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” More importantly, it’s placed nearly 2,000 cats for adoption.

Here’s to you all finding your own ways to do good in the world, cat-centric or not.

Lauren Brown
University Editor

New Dining Hall to Honor Indigenous People of Maryland

I just completed reading my Winter 2022 issue and was wowed. I was just going to read one or two articles but wound up (of course) reading the whole issue. I enjoyed learning more about NIL issues and UMD’s jump-start on it. Really liked the hopeful work Brittney Drakeford is doing—so needed in so many communities. But what really struck me was the building of a new (dining hall) named after the people who were there first: the Piscataway. Too often we forget that this land was taken by force. Our church each Sunday honors and remembers the people on whose land we are built. I worked for the Indian Health Service for 16 years and know how important this recognition can be. Makes me proud to be a Terp.

Pat Mail ’96, Tacoma, Wash.

Embracing Our Bias

I was absolutely appalled with the (caption). In 1986, I had just completed my graduate program in higher education administration. I was very aware of the incident involving Len Bias’ drug use and subsequent death. It was a sad time for the campus community as well as the Bias family. However, to glorify it 35 years later is absolutely ludicrous. I cannot believe he was permitted to be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. As a student affairs administrator and faculty member, I can’t even begin to justify why the University of Maryland feels compelled to honor his legacy, when today we struggle with so much substance abuse on campuses. While this magazine as well as UMD as a whole appear to feel that athletic programs are its No. 1 priority, its true purpose is to provide an education to students.

Robin Seidel-Gibson M.Ed. ’85, Georgetown, Del.

A Rooted Return

Wow. Exceptional. Thank you so much for sharing Ms. Drakeford’s story. There’s so much here to learn, to praise, to sit and ponder, and to compel further activism. Would like to visit these gardens.

Jeanne Martin Lay ’90, Columbia, Md. via Facebook