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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 62, Number 15 (July 1961)

Lochner, Louis P.
"Minute-men" for the University,   pp. 23-24


Page 23


"Minute-Men" for the University
                                                  by LOUIS P. LOCHNER
                                                                First Executive
Secretary
                                                                Wisconsin
Alumni Association
R   EVISITING the U.W. Campus and taking part in the
     joys of Commencement Week is always a memorable
occasion for an alumna or an alumnus, especially for one who
lives far away from Madison.
   My pride in being a University of Wisconsin graduate
rose to a new high as two hundred recipients of the degrees
of Ph.D. and Doctor of Medicine strode across the platform
to receive their diplomas at the hands of President Conrad
A. Elvehjem and I could study the individual faces and
listen to the individual names. A miniature United Nations
seemed to pass in review. Scholars from many countries and
races had looked to Wisconsin for the finishing touches in
their academic education.
  My pride in my Alma Mater was further enhanced when
I was informed that these Ph.D.s and M.D.s, together with
the more than 2,000 other recipients of degrees, represented
forty-three foreign countries and forty-one American states
besides Wisconsin.
  Truly, we can be immensely proud to think that our Uni-
versity attracts women and men from all over the world in
quest of higher and highest education who select the U.W.
as their training ground.
  All the more shocked was I, on reaching Madison and
especially after hearing the address of President Elvehjem
during the Alumni Centennial Dinner, to realize that our
Alma Mater is not receiving adequate funds from the State
of Wisconsin, and must look elsewhere, to federal and pri-
vate grants, to function properly.
  The conclusion I was forced to draw was that the mem-
member of our Alumni Association ought to be designated
in every community in which there is a local newspaper or
radio or TV station, as the recipient of all news releases about
our Alma Mater issued by the official University News Bu-
reau or by the Alumni Association ...
   "This modern Minute Man of our Alma Mater would
make such items available immediately or stress their impor-
tance, if already available, to his local mass comunications
media."
   I added that the idea would be spelled out in detail in
the Alumnus. So here goes:
   As one who has been a journalist for over fifty years I
know that today, more than ever, the editors of newspapers
and other periodicals as well as the news editors of radio and
TV stations, are swamped with press releases from organiza-
tions, institutions, public relations firms, charitable under-
takings, and the like.
  These editors can scan this vast bulk of material only
hurriedly, for in addition there are running reports of the
"wire services" (Associated Press and United Press Inter-
national), the feature and syndicate services, such as King
Features, North American Newspaper Alliance, and NEA
Service, and, last but by no means least, the stories written
by the own staff to be handled.
  This means that, without ill will on the part of these edi-
tors, many an item that deserves being printed is overlooked
or its full importance under-rated.
  It is here that the work of the Minute Man can be of great
service to our university. I use the word Minute Man, of
the funds requested by the University authorities have shown
that they simply do not grasp what our highest state institu-
tion of learning means not only in our nation but throughout
the world. Many another state envies Wisconsin the fine
reputation it has achieved through its state university.
  Obviously a lot of work lies ahead between now and the
next Legislature to bring home to our solons the necessity
for greater support of our university. It is here that a chal-
lenging opportunity presents itself to us as alumni. I outlined
a suggestion for the creation of a corps of "Minute Men
and Women" in my talk at the Centennial Dinner:
     "I submit to your consideration that a live, enthusiastic
Wisconsin Alumnus, July, 1961
want of a better name. I'd be happy if someone thought of
an original, catching designation of the person I have in mind.
T HE MINUTE MAN can perhaps be best selected by a
    local Wisconsin Alumni Club wherever one exists. Or,
he or she may volunteer and so advise alumni headquarters,
together with a reference of qualifications for the task. Also,
she or he might be "drafted" by the executive director of
our Association. In any case the formal appointment should
be made by the Association's board of directors.
  The person designated for any given locality should read
every item of University news received to determine in each
case whether it is of general interest to readers and listeners
everywhere, hence also news matter which the local paper
or radio and TV station should logically and obviously carry.
  On the other hand, he should also look for a possible
"local angle" which makes the item of special interest to the
town, city, or region in which the designee lives.
  For example: the news item may deal with, say, some
astounding break-through in science achieved at the Univer-
sity of Wisconsin. That is news of such general interest that
every medium of communication ought to carry it. Or again,
                                                      23
In his article, Mr. Lochner expresses some res-
ervation about the appropriateness of the term,
"minute-men." He feels that there is, perhaps, a
better description for the alumni who would act
as news representatives for the University in their
individual communities. If any of our readers can
think of a somewhat more fitting name, we would
appreciate their suggestions-Editor's Note.
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