Mary Lou Doherty, Esq., W’64 WG’66

I have fond memories from the early sixties of Dr. John DeCani, who was a 1964 Lindback winner. (Dr. John S. DeCani, was Associate Professor of Statistics and Operations Research when Dr. Bernard F. Cataldo, also a 1964 Lindback winner, was Professor of Business Law.) During classroom statistics exercises to my bewilderment, Dr. DeCani would interject sarcastic observations on what he called: “how to lie with statistics”. At the time, I did not appreciate what lay beneath Dr. DeCani’s comments or that outside the classroom he served at times as an expert witness in affirmative action cases. Since then, I have come to realize his asides hinted at, or warned of the misuse of junk science by so-called expert witnesses.

I also particularly remember – and fondly – Dr. Herbert S. Denenberg. At the time of my classroom experiences, the conventional part of the sixties, I believed whatever was good for General Motors was good for America, etc. Consequently, I was the perfect ploy for Dr. Denenberg. During class after he asked me a question, he would invariably loudly and vehemently pound the podium and yell: “WRONG AGAIN MARY L!!!” Dr. Denenberg went on to be a proponent of No-Fault Insurance and later to host his own acclaimed TV10 – now TV3 – Dennenberg Dump series. He was appalled by the junk food being consumed in America and warned of its long run effects. He was also an aggressive proponent of unsafe at any speed. On the final exam, Dr. Denenberg included the cryptic comment: “Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.”

Thus, when I think back over my times at Wharton, I have come to realize I am beholden to many of the Wharton Professors who foresaw difficulties that lay ahead for our generation in a wide range of fields – such as – in developing guidelines for administration and enforcement of affirmative action policies, in ensuring the good health for our citizens, or providing for public safety in transportation. Thus, in a word I realize I am beholden to Wharton and am thankful for the efforts of its faculty in trying to prepare me for the world we live in.