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Editor’s Column

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10 things I’m proud of about House Organ

This issue is about the future, but, as we’re working to put this issue to bed, the past is on my mind a little, too. House Organ is ceasing publication. This doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere—I will still be in the office of News and Communications at VUMC, where part of my job is keeping…


Jungle Boy

I was riding on a boat down a river through the jungle, with tropical birds in the trees, vines hanging down to the waterside, and monkeys swinging in the branches above. This was the Tortuguero National Park in the Central American country of Costa Rica, and although I had never been there before, it all…


Under ideal circumstances…

I rode to school in 1967 with the Ryan family down the street: Mom Frances at the wheel, with kids Kay, Barbara, Jimmy and little Mike, who was too young for school but who rode with us anyway, usually still in his pajamas. Kay, the oldest, would ride shotgun and command the radio, and it…


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“Jake misses Elizabeth as much as we do”

Stories behind the winning pet photos There were great stories behind the winning photographs in this year’s House Organ Pet Poll, the University tradition and annual exercise in democracy that elects Vanderbilt’s Dog of the Year, Cat of the Year and Group or Duo of the Year. More 7,600 votes poured in for the nominees…


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Big love

Walk into Scott Hoffman, M.D.’s office, and it’s clear you are in the domain of a dog lover. There are photographs of dogs framed and displayed on shelves, and hanging on the wall. There is other dog artwork: some drawings, a woodcarving, even a dog’s image rendered in copper. Hoffman has known the heights of…


Bill will hate this, but:

There was a story in the June 1986 issue of House Organ, headlined, “Hance to direct news office.” It noted that Bill Hance, city editor at the Nashville Banner, was coming to Vanderbilt be director of News and Public Affairs. This December, more than 25 years later, Bill is retiring. When it was announced that…


National Arts Program exhibit at One Hundred Oaks is a showcase of Vanderbilt talent

You owe it to yourself to drop by the art exhibit at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks to see the National Arts Program’s Third Annual Exhibit and Competition. I was there one recent afternoon and spent much more time than I had anticipated walking through the exhibit, enjoying the creativity and talent of the artists,…


Stories that stay with you

Wherever any of us go, we represent the groups to which we belong. We know this in big ways. If you travel in a foreign country, for example, at some level you are probably conscious that the way you act and treat people somehow represents all Americans. This is true even in small things. If…


Remembering her husband’s smile

Eileen Johnson is a soft-spoken fourth-grade teacher who just lost the love of her life, and she wanted to talk about him. She knocked at my door one recent afternoon, introduced herself, and said that she had come by the Office of News and Communications and asked to speak with an editor, and somebody directed…


Of JFK, U2, telephones and security

President John F. Kennedy spoke at Vanderbilt Stadium on May 18, 1963. It was a large and appreciative crowd. U2 played a concert at Vanderbilt Stadium on July 2, 2011. It was also a large and appreciative crowd. I don’t mean to imply an equivalency between a president and a rock band, but I was…