Friday, April 27, 2007

Dean at M.I.T. Resigns, Ending a 28-Year Lie
Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became well known for urging stressed-out students competing for elite colleges to calm down and stop trying to be perfect. Yesterday she admitted that she had fabricated her own educational credentials, and resigned after nearly three decades at M.I.T. Officials of the institute said she did not have even an undergraduate degree.
“I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to M.I.T. 28 years ago and did not have the courage to correct my résumé when I applied for my current job or at any time since,” Ms. Jones said in a statement posted on the institute’s Web site. “I am deeply sorry for this and for disappointing so many in the M.I.T. community and beyond

I have two opinions on this story.

First, lies always seem to catch up with us. She lied and got caught.

Second, this is credentialism at its worst.

This woman was an outstanding college administrator. She was well known and respected. She tried to make the admissions process less stressful for the teenagers. She wrote a book. She was the kind of dean that every college president hopes to find.

But she had no degree. She was hired at MIT 28 years ago and rose through the ranks. When she got promoted, everyone at MIT knew her good work and therefore did not check her degrees.

She was fired for her lie. She would never have been hired without those degrees on her resume, no matter how good the quality of her work.

I understand the allure of the degree for hiring people. A degree does insure several traits: persistence, a certain degree of intelligence, the ability to work within the system, some general knowledge and some specific knowledge. But not having that degree does not mean a person is devoid of those same traits.

It is just easier to hire people by their paper qualifications but it is not always wise.

I knew a man in Memphis who had a high school diploma. He was extremely intelligent and knowledgeable. He had severe test anxiety and could never pass any test even though he kept trying.

His company, where he was an hourly worker, wanted to promote him for years but he couldn't pass university tests nor their own tests.

Finally, they gave up and promoted him anyway. Last I heard from him, he was in charge of the company's operations in the entire US southeast.


The Ruckers had planned on going canoeing on Saturday so they decided to go ahead and do it since it was no futher from here than it was from Nolensville. Of course, Ken came back telling how everyone was amazed at his prowess at paddling.

Most everyone went to John and Charlotte's for a late lunch, early dinner at 2 o'clock. Beth had forgotten to bring the medicine that is supposed to prevent another ovarian cyst. Understandably she is paranoid about this so she had the prescription sent to WalMart and she went to Jackson to pick up the prescription.

Julia took me home and Anne and Ken were already back.

We got ready and went to the funeral home. We got there a little before the appointed time of 4:30. I thought we would be the first but we were the last of the 6 families.

They had done a good job of Mother and none of her black blotches showed. We had a lot of people come through. Some people sent food there so there was eating in the kitchen. The kids enjoyed that.

Janice, primarily, had picked out pictures that the funeral home had put on a cd and it was continuously showing on a TV there. I enjoyed so much watching those good times.

The triplets and their cousins spent their time either in the lounge or outside on the porches. They would travel around the porch outside the railing and then drop off into the landscaping. Emma was wearing sandals and her feet were black. Anne was not pleased.

I have wonderful aunts and they all sat in a row as they usually do. Aunt Maureen has gotten very frail. Aunts Velma, Tylene, Melba, and Allene are doing well. All the cousins except Aunt Allene's boys showed up, most for both visitation and the funeral, even Tiny came from North Carolina. Thanks to the internet because she said if I hadn't sent her an email on Thursday morning she would not have had time to make the arrangements.

I was so pleased that they brought Uncle FL from his nursing home in Jackson. He was in a wheelchair. Carolyn said he had had a good day and he seemed to enjoy seeing everyone. He stayed a good amount of time. Most often he is so cantankerous that they can't take him anywhere. They were not able to take him to Uncle Hubert's visitation or funeral.

Afterward we went to Janice's and ate again. I was not hungry but they had banana pudding so what could I do?

Sunday we all got ready for the funeral. Lunch was from the huge amount of food still here.

Anne drove in the procession, with me, Beth, and the kids riding. Ken was with the other pallbearers. I was disappointed that we were not in order. By that I mean we should have lined up Julia, June, Mary, John, Janice, and James.

When we got to the church, we did walk in in that order. Harry's son and daughter-in-law met us there.

The service was beautiful. Keith sang Going Home as he did at Aunt Vaneida's and George Rodney's funerals. He also played Amazing Grace on his saxophone. Brother did a good job with the sermon since he knew Mother so well. James, Julia, Keith, and Cindy also spoke movingly.

After the graveside service, we went to the dining room at church where we again had a meal. George and Adam said they were hungry because it had been a long time since they had eaten. Actually they ate chocolate chip cookies on the way from the funeral home to the church. The food was fantastic.

The boys got into a good natured pushing match up front until Anne broke it up. I told her it was cute. She said it might be cute to me but probably wasn't to a lot of people. She is very careful with them as she doesn't want any brats.

Actually the three of them were very well behaved during the weekend. Adam told Ken's sister, their Aunt Gina, that he almost cried. George said he almost cried, too. We won't mention that George, along with Emma, cried a lot.

The Ruckers with Beth, Jay, and ADrienne left for Nashville from the church because Ken had to drive on to Atlanta that night since he had a mediation there on Monday.

Doris Carroll and CW meant to make an early start going back to Virginia. Doris went to the bathroom in the church to change clothes and got locked in. They had to take the doorknob off to get her out.

Julia brought me back home. It is funny how different people are. Julia hated to go to an empty house while I was happy to be alone for a while.

Now I am in a good place. Totally in denial but enjoying it.

I did go to visit Miss Pauline at the nursing home. She was Mother's roommate and when you think of it, she spent the most time with her and misses her most. She has spent a lot of time crying and wonders if she could have done something. She says she asked Mother something after they went to bed and Mother did not reply. She wishes she had called the nurse, but if Mother was gone it would have done no good.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mother died last Wednesday night.

They called me on Tuesday night to tell me that she had fallen and hurt herself. This was unusual. When she fell, she would just crumple to the floor, softly falling, not hurting herself at all. The nurse said they had called the doctor. The test seemed fine and they had given her some tylenol.

I visited her Wednesday afternoon. She looked bad. There were black blotches around her eyes where it looked as if blood vessels had burst. Not bruised, like a black eye, just really black. She also had a bruised and scraped chin, and bruises and scrapes on her elbow and knee.

She was lying on the bed in her room but this wasn't unusual. She seemed to be feeling okay.. In fact, I asked if she was hurting and she said no. We visited a while and I told her I could get some yard work in before dark if I left then. So, about 5 o'clock, I kissed her and left.

Sometime between 9:30 and 10, the nursing home called. "This is Kathy at the nursing home. Someone in Miss Nola's family needs to come to the nursing home." I said I would be there and asked no questions. Did I know then? Probably, maybe I asked no questions because I didn't want to know the answer.

I drove over there without calling anyone because I really knew nothing to tell anyone. When I got there, the nurse at the desk told me that Mother had passed away. She took me down the hall but the aides had not finished preparing Mother so I went back to the desk area and started calling.

I started, I think, with James, and then called June, John, and Janice, gave them the news and asked them to come. John was going to wait for Charlotte who was on her way home from work or school. John had the sense to call Dwain who called some of the Seatons.

I think I got in to see Mother before others got there but I am not sure. Mother was lying in bed with that beautiful silver hair. She looked different because she was lying on her back and Mother always laid in the bed on her side with her hands drawn up.

Everyone did get there. Keith went to get Denee. That was hard for Denee. Mother's preacher also came.

I did not know what to do about Julia. Finally everyone decided that Frankie should go tell her so I called and got him out of bed. Julia is stronger than we think. she has done well.

After a while, we left. John and Charlotte stayed until the funeral home came to get Mother.

We went to Janice's to make some decisions. James and I had made all the arrangements so there were not that many things to decide. One decision was to have the grandsons and grandsons-in-law to be pallbearers. This worked out beautifully as each family contributed one.
Jay, Alvin, Ken,Tony, Jonathan, and Justin.

Sometime during the night I called Anne. Since it is one hour later in Florida, I decided to wait till morning to call Beth.

I don't think I slept any that night. The next morning Thursday, we met at the funeral home to complete arrangements. Since there was a wedding at the church on Saturday, we decided to have the funeral on Sunday. Julia picked out a dress for Mother; this was important for her.

The casket and vault, both in Mother's favorite green color, we had picked out years ago.

Then it was a long wait.

Thursday night we ate at Snookum's. Unfortunately we couldn't get in touch with James. Friday night we ate at my house. So many people had brought food that we stuffed ourselves.

Beth and Jay flew up to Nashville from Jacksonville together. Anne and Ken did yeoman's job of getting all these people here. Beside the five Ruckers, Jay, Beth, and Adrienne rode here from Nashville in their vehicle.

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