May 24, 2001


We were underway when DON PARK led the Pledge - and since he and I walked in from the parking lot together, YOE can report that he was not nervous prior to this scheduled appearance! PP JIM DOWNIE and JACK HARRIS combined on The Battle Hymn, followed by PP DAVE WHITEHEAD with an Invocation. DAVE also had some background comments on the forthcoming event on June 16th, pointing out that our Club is composed of both intellectuals and Rotarians. These characteristics don't usually occur together, which should insure everyone attending will enjoy the show…And the reason for the Delayed in the title for today is that this Windmill won't appear until next Wednesday!

There were no guests of Rotarians but CLARK McQUAY introduced Peter Herfert and Kees Norbert, both of whom are from the Marktoberdorf, Germany club - and Peter is further known as one of last year's Group Study Exchange visitors. He apparently joined the club as soon as he returned to Germany - he is in banking, while Kees is in the lighting business. Several spouses were present, including SHIRLEY MORE, CLAUDE CUTRIGHT and JUDY WESSLING. Next up was PAUL SORRELL, who was quizzed by Prexy STEVE about what kind of law he practices. While his firm specializes in Entertainment Law, PAUL is one of their litigates, and he enjoys the variety of the practice. DAVE MATSON then introduced our newest member, BURLEIGH ARNOLD, an attorney with an international firm that operates in over thirty countries worldwide. DAVE pointed out that his classification shouldn't be held against him, since, while he IS an attorney, he doesn't practice law…

ANN ELKIN came forward to present a Ships Clock to Midshipman James Trotter as the outstanding graduating senior in UCLA's Naval ROTC program. He was accompanied by Commander Jim Trotter - his dad - who also happens to be at UCLA, and it was no surprise that the two of them share many interests! PP BOB WESSLING, substituting for RUDY ALVAREZ, next introduced our returning Ambassadorial Scholar, Deborah Goldberg. Deborah has just returned from Rio de Janeiro, studying International Business, and she found the experience to be most worthwhile. She quoted extensively from her journal, and thus covered her visit in some detail.

Upcoming events include June 13th, when the Rotary Auxiliary will install new officers at the home of the SISKEL'S - time is 11:30. June 25th is the date for the WVRC Golf Tournament at Los Angeles CC, and PP JIM SUMNER or PP STEVE SCHERER are the contacts, please. Moving into our next Rotary year, we will be dark on July 5th, and will have a joint meeting with Beverly Hills during the week of July 23rd, at their place. We are sorry to announce that KIRK HARNEY has resigned - the trek from the Marina was simply too far to negotiate. One housekeeping inquiry, from ANN ELKIN. An incoming Ambassadorial Scholar, a doctor from Greece and his wife, will be arriving in LA late in June. They need housing until they find an apartment - for perhaps two or three weeks. AND, if you have an apartment they can rent for a year, that would be most helpful. Contact ANN, please.

PP BOB WESSLING (just call me Coach) introduced our Speaker, Tom Hudnut, who is the Headmaster at Harvard-Westlake School. BOB first spoke of Tom Fischer, a partner of his at Latham and Watkins, since it was he who arranged for Headmaster Hudnut to speak at WVRC. Mr. Fischer is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Harvard - Westlake - which gives him some access to Mr. Hudnut, of course. He pointed out that Hudnut has been Headmaster since 1987. 1550 students are enrolled at their two campuses, which cover grades seven through twelve. Mr. Hudnut graduated from Princeton, started his teaching career in 1970, and has a Masters from Tufts University. Also seated at the Head Table was PP HOWARD SISKEL, who served for several years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and whose two daughters are Westlake graduates.

Tom began by pointing out the major differences between 1964, his last year in high school, and today, as far as college admissions are concerned. A close, almost-family member was the Director of Admissions, and his interview consisted of an afternoon visit over ice tea with his father, the close friend, and Tom. That long ago, one out of every two applicants were being admitted, compared to one out of eleven today. The two major changes since then are Demand, and Competitiveness.

Historically, December of 1991 was the low point in births, which have exceeded past years ever since - this trend will continue until 2008, at which point a pause should occur. Thus, there are more students applying each year, while the number of available spaces remain relatively constant. Where once those applying to the top-rated schools were essentially from white, upper middle class families, today's applicants are much more diverse in background. The Internet has been a major factor in this explosion of applicants - some students today will apply to fifteen or twenty schools, whereas in the 60's, most students only applied to a couple of prospective schools.

Tulane offered free admission forms to those who applied early - which led to a 31% increase in the number of applicants. Carnegie-Mellon had 3228 applicants for a class with just 128 places. You could call this marketing - but publicity and the many books now devoted to college admissions are behind this great increase, also. The biggest edition of US News and Report is their College Ratings Edition, and this also causes our competitive instincts to come alive - "I've gotta get in". It is not hard to figure that parents lead the charge here - but it should be noted that they are remembering how it was when THEY applied, and it's a much different ballgame today.

At USC, their average SAT score has gone up by 200 points in the last ten years, with a GPA of 3.8, and they admit only one in nine of those applying. To be fair, the SAT scores have been 'recentered' since the 70's, meaning that kids today are not smarter than they used to be - it's just that grade inflation makes them look that way. Harvard, for instance, has 55% of their applicants scoring over 1400 on the SAT. The many Advanced Placement (AP) courses now offered have helped the average SAT to rise, and many students are able to start earlier on these college level classes - which helps to boost the average, again.

We mustn't forget merchandising…Colleges began offering merit-based financial awards, which were the bait to draw in top students. (And to keep the faculty happy, every school seeks some exceptional students, of course) An example from Harvard-Westlake - two recent graduates were accepted by MIT, but eventually ended up choosing USC instead, when SC counter-offered more scholarship help!

The admission process sometimes comes down to playing God - Mr. Hudnut reminded us that few intellectuals go into Admissions…They are, however, often trying to make the world a better place, and thus want to give minorities an opportunity. And being a big alumni donor doesn't necessarily help - $50 K gifts are no longer 'big' enough to insure acceptance! We thank you, Tom Hudnut, for a most enlightening visit, and only regret that there wasn't time for a Q&A.

Thought for the Day - "He who slings mud generally loses ground" Adlai Stevenson.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe