What's in it for you?

by Anne Palmer Peterson, editor

With so much to report on, from both campus and beyond, the editors of Continuum rarely have time to reflect on how the magazine came to be, or why. I remember discovering a copy of the May 1991 premiere edition of Continuum buried under press releases in my mailslot at The Salt Lake Tribune. I covered medicine for the newspaper, and so had been targeted to receive this new showpiece of the University with its cover story, "Genetics: Focusing on the Building Blocks of Life."

A pixilated cover portrait of geneticist Ray White, now executive director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, heralded the magazine's arrival. The byline of Elaine Jarvik, a writer at the Deseret News, accompanied the five-page story. Continuum captured my attention right off the bat. The magazine had its intended effect on me: it drew me nearer to the University of Utah.

Ted Capener BS'53 is the person credited with founding the magazine. As vice president for university relations, he wanted a publication with a first-class identity for those once affiliated with campus who are no longer near. He said it should bring about a feeling of "dignity and depth." All of this was on his mind as he prepared for retirement by sorting through 141/2 years' worth of academic paraphernalia in his Park Building office. "I felt that people needed more in-depth information about what was happening up here," he explained.

The magazine's objective, Vice President Capener wrote in the first "Up Front," was to present ideas and information that represent this University and its primary products—graduates who are prepared to contribute to the world, and new knowledge that can benefit the people of the world.

A lot has changed in the nine years since Capener and his colleagues initiated Continuum. Nowadays we try to think of the quarterly publication as less a showpiece for the University than an example of institutional journalism that explores broader educational and social issues. If anything, we want it to be relevant, so that it reminds readers of their meaningful connections with the U. In so doing, we intend for the magazine to reflect the values of a mature institution of learning, and respect for its accomplished graduates, faculty, and staff.

This issue is largely a tribute to Capener, who retired from the U in June. We'll miss his harsh critiques, as well as his knack for making the staff feel that we had something to do with making the magazine good. The issue features a controversial professor of law who is out to end the reign of Miranda v. Arizona, one of the most famous Supreme Court rulings of the last half century. And though you may not know the law, or wish to, when the Supreme Court tinkers with private rights safeguarding liberty, it affects us all. The question is anything but moot.

With an eye toward scrutinizing the standards of the institution we admire, Continuum student intern Kathryn Austin sheds light on the prevalence and punishment of students who cheat. Her story is a good reminder of the moral code that explains why cheaters, whether fudging on their income tax or plagiarizing papers in college, are not supposed to prosper. And in an article that looks at the delicate matter of recruiting student athletes to the U, writer John Youngren BA'88 examines Coach Ron McBride's special recipe.

With this issue, Continuum also bids a fond farewell to another person who has left her stamp on the magazine and the Alumni Association: retiring president of the board of directors Lorna Higgs Matheson ex'56. Both Capener and Matheson were good at balancing praise with reminders that there is always room for improvement. In that regard, our readers are helpful too. Several wrote to note an error in our reporting last issue on the December 1959 Utah vs. Ohio State basketball game in an article on the Einar Nielsen Field House. For the record and with our apologies, it was Billy (the Hill) McGill, not Jerry Chambers, who countered the efforts of Ohio State's Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, and Bobby Knight in the famous match.

Hearing from readers who really read, and care, is the kind of thing that made Ted Capener proud. And he knew that if he gave us the freedom to do what we do best, it would be our readers, not he, who would ultimately hold us accountable to the high standards associated with the University of Utah. He helped all of us see the importance of doing a good job in the face of people who care very much about this place. That is the imprint of a superb publisher.

University of Utah Home Page - Alumni Association Home Page

Copyright 1999 by The University of Utah Alumni Association