Editor’s Note (Summer 2019)

William Holt
Birmingham-Southern College
CUSS Newsletter, Vol 31, No 3

This edition of the CUSS Newsletter marks the end of my almost 20 years of serving as an editor. In 2001 I responded to a call for an editor  from then-Chair Barrett Lee. He contacted me on what seemed to be a typical Tuesday morning that I was to be co-editor with  Jennifer Stoloff at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

      However, that Tuesday was anything but ordinary. On WCBS the announcers were complaining about how poorly the Giants played in the previous evening’s Monday Night Football Game. Then, during the weather report, the announcer mentioned that there appeared to be a small plane near the  World Trade Center. By the time I walked from my research job with the Yale Medical School to Lindsey-Chittenden Hall to teach Sociological Imagination, the introductory course, to a large lecture hall of undergraduates,  things had changed drastically. The  musicology professor who taught before my class always ran late. So, when I walked into the auditorium,  he had on the overhead with live tv coverages showing the maps of Washington, D.C. I had developed for the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) of the Monumental Core area between the White House and U.S. Capitol.  Secret Service agents ran through the building pulling then-undergraduate Barbara Bush out of L-C. Yale officials asked us to send the undergraduates back to their  residential colleges. They asked us to  volunteer to go over to Yale-New Haven Hospital, a designated center in case of a major disaster  in New York, to assist with triage for what they thought would be incoming  victims. Within hours Yale officials sent us  home since no one would be  arriving for treatments.  We had no idea how significant that day would be on so many levels.

    Ironically, I had gotten interested in graphics due to Yale. Growing up in a small Georgia town, I spent a lot of time at my  father’s small independent pharmacy on the town square. However, after being washed over by Atlanta’s sprawl, the town’s businesses struggled. I became interested in urban planning and design. As a competitive swimmer, I’d planned to continue this in college. However, the combination of my father’s unexpected death when I was 12 coupled being raised by a widowed mother who was in her late 50’s changed plans. So, instead of swimming at Yale, I took a full scholarship to the University of Georgia. After spending years of twice daily practices, I had a lot of free time. Swimming at UGA was not an option since you had to be near Olympic qualifying to be on the team. So, the closest major to urban planning at UGA was geography. By in the late 1980’s we still learned to hand draw maps with ink as well as taking the earliest GIS courses. Since no one wanted the position, I became editor of UGA’s Pandora yearbook. I got to utilize my graphics  skills from cartography classes.

     I completed my master’s in urban planning at Georgia Tech. Being in Atlanta in the early 1990’s, we got to work on numerous 1996 Summer Olympic venues as well as downtown revitalization projects. From Atlanta, I moved to Washington, D.C. to work on the 2050 Monumental Core Plan, the third update of L-Enfant’s original 1791 Plan.

    When I decided to go back to graduate school for my doctorate, I visited New Haven. A chance lunch with Dr. Kai Erickson discussing American South civil war monuments probably got me in the sociology program. Our lunch was at Donaldson Commons with my eventual student office at Williams Hall. For those of us who went to Yale, we know that none of these building even remain. Both were demolished for  new residential colleges. My only reference point is that my old office was on axis with a hockey goal inside The Whale, the university’s ice rink.

      The CUSS Newsletter reflects the changing computer technology. The first step in any addition remains the same, While many of you sent me materials by e-mails and attachments, I place them into a Word file. After organizing the materials into what will become the edition’s sections, all text is stripped. Next, the materials are formatted into the text for the edition. Using Publisher, each section of materials is placed into columns. Based on the number of columns, I then lay out the edition.

      Originally, section members received a bcc’d email with all the materials in a long list. This was the first electronic version replacing the paper copies posted to members. Then, we evolved to using Word with a three column format. If one line shifted, the entire multi-page document did as well. Ray Hutchinson who was web manager would  take the my final Word document and physically have the students at UWGB convert it to a pdf.  In 2012 I moved the editions to Publisher which made layouts much easier.

    Over the years I’ve worked with numerous CUSS Section Chairs. In 2014, Lily Hoffman and I spend what seemed like the entire summer reviewing the new publishing contracts. I had a delightful visit with her family at Shelter Island where she toured me around in a vintage jeep.

    The newsletter has been a good way to stay involved with the section. It was a nice diversion when I should have been outlining cases for law school exams. But, like everything else, it is time for change.



















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