Talk:Norman Wengert

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Former good article nominee Norman Wengert was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
March 11, 2009 Good article nominee Not listed
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Will appreciate any additions or clarifications to this article. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 16:28, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

GA review of Norman I. Wengert by Arsenikk: Advice?[edit]

The first parts of this discussion have been copied verbatim from User talk:Coppertwig Arsenikk (talk) 12:24, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Some time ago when I was contemplating leaving Wikipedia you graciously invited me to visit your talk page. So here I am, once again with one foot out the door.

Recently I nominated an article I created on Norman I. Wengert for good article review, after moving a few other articles to good article status. I checked everyday for a couple weeks to see if anyone was going to review it, with no takers. Then today, I find it has been reviewed and summarily failed by User:Arsenikk, who provided a long list of reasons which have little to do with the good article criteria, and appear to express Arsenikk's personal preferences more than anything.

For example, Arsenikk appears to have applied every minor requirement for punctuation and citation form in the Manual of Style despite the fact the good article criteria specifically limit the application of MOS to "manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, jargon, words to avoid, fiction, and list incorporation." For example, he prescribes: "use straight, not curly, quotation marks." Is this really important for a good article review?

Moreover, his interpretation of what is required in a lead paragraph is not to be found in the link to lead sections. Furthermore, Arsenikk provided no assistance in editing the article, not even changing a period to a comma where obviously needed, and I was provided zero opportunity to discuss his criticisms or make changes before he failed the article.

Arsenikk insists that things in the lead be repeated elsewhere even if all that does is take up more server space, and he pretends not to know what J.D. and Ph.D. refer to, insisting they be spelled out. And he plays dumb rather than relying on the ordinary meaning of plain language where quotes from Wengert are concerned, virtually inviting interpretation of a theoretical proposition from Wengert that would amount to original research.

This is a very strange GA review, unlike the others I've seen, which have been helpful. This review was not in the least helpful, merely gratuitous criticism. To me this looks almost like vandalism, seemingly arbitrary, capricious, nitpicking, condescending, and obnoxious.

I'm not sure this person should be allowed to perform GA reviews, and I don't know how to proceed. I don't want to confront him, and I would like to see the article receive a fair and evenhanded review, but don't know how to get that to happen. Would you mind taking a look at his GA review comments and give me a little advice about how to proceed? Mervyn Emrys (talk) 22:22, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I only have a few minutes now; I may be able to look into this in more detail tomorrow. Link to article: Norman I. Wengert Link to GA review: [[1]] Coppertwig (talk) 22:37, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I've posted a message to User talk:Arsenikk#GA review. I believe anyone is allowed to do GA reviews. Coppertwig (talk) 22:47, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Hi Coppertwig - I will also try and do some work on the Wengert article. I didn't have much of an issue with most of Arsenikk's suggestions, but not sure why it got failed so quickly after feedback was left. Cheers. hamiltonstone (talk) 22:59, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Great! Thanks! Gotta rush for now though. Coppertwig (talk) 23:02, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
The purpose of a GA review is to provide as much constructive criticism as possible about the article, and at the same time establish if the article has reached the good article criteria. I could have instead given the reason stated in criterion three and simply failed the article. In its current state, I could have chosen to quick-fail the article, since it has {{fact}} tags in it. Instead, I provided a long list of improvements; and yes, I am fully aware of that several of these are not part of the GA criteria, such as those related to curly quotation marks. Still, I chose to incorporate them into the review, so the authors can learn how to write better articles. Quite often I get the opposite complaints after reviews, because I have not been thorough enough at making statements about how the article can improve. I like to believe that people like receiving tips on improvements to their article creation skills. The reason I did not manually copyedit the changes myself, is that by having the corrections listed up, the author can learn what to do next time, even the tiny little stuff. In 97 reviews, this is the first time I have been criticized for giving too much feedback.
I will explain my motivations for my actions, so you can better understand why the GA review is as it is. First: the lead is far too short. The lead is one of the hardest parts of an article to write, because it needs to quickly summarize the article and yet to go into unnecessary detail. It is to be of a certain length, usually shorter if the article is too. As stated in the MoS, it should be about two full paragraphs for this length of article. Server strain is of absolutely no concern of ours; we are here to write a good, encyclopedic article. Also, the first sentence is very long, and fails to do as said in the MoS: to say what the subject is, and why it is notable. Mentioning who the persons parents are in the first sentence is not in line with the MoS, and therefore not in line with a good article. This article has a very common fault: it is both US-biased and academic-oriented. The first is related to instances such as that the article uses WI to denote Wisconsin, and fails to establish the country of the person. I seldom come across this problem in non-US articles (even Canadian and British ones). The latter fault is more subtile: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written for lay people presumed at a level of high school pupils. Also, it is written for a people from all over the world. Because of this, it is important that we write with a simple language, and avoid use of complex or technical language that may not be understood by people with little education or from other parts of the world. For instance, while I am fully aware of that a PhD is, I did not know what a JD is, although I was able to understand it from context clues. This is because JD is a geographic and topic-specific degree. Similarly, I imagine some people do not know what a PhD is.
I have no regrets failing the article. On second though, I regret not tagging it for incorrectly failing criterion 2c for original research. You cannot use the person in questions academic papers to make claims like "Wengert achieved some early renown" and "but he is probably best known". These are highly biased claims, and must be backed up by reliable sources, independent of Wengert himself. The article has large lacks in explaining why Wengert is notable (beyond holding many positions and writing a lot of papers, which in itself does not establish notability), and how he contributed to his academic field as a whole, especially since there are referencing problems. I do not find the prose clear, and some places I find it highly unencyclopedic (such as the baloon metaphore). I do not believe that the theoretical workings of such a person over a life-time can only be covered in one paragraph. The large amount of rewriting needed, caused me to consider it better to fail the article. This happens all the time at GAN, and has even happened to myself. I understand that it is no fun, but it is simply part of the process.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you are free to either call for reassessment or renominate. My recommendation would be to first improve the article as recommended in the review, and then make a new nomination, since the article would at current most probably be quick-failed for having [citation needed] tags in it (and would thus fail a reassessment as well). I cannot reopen a GA review once I have closed it, nor would I if I could. I genuinely hope that this article reaches GA status, but this can only happen if it reaches the criteria. Therefore, I exceeded what is required by a reviewer in giving an extensive review on an article with reference and scope problems, so that the prose would not become a liability in future nominations. Arsenikk (talk) 12:21, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, that's what I thought and what I was going to explain to Mervyn Emrys: that perhaps some of the suggestions you listed were suggestions for improving the article (for example, things that would be needed to satisfy the WP:MOS or to achieve FA status) that you didn't necessarily think were all needed in order to achieve GA status. That's what I would do as a reviewer.
Regardless of whether the review is immediately re-opened ("re-assessment") or whether renomination is to be sought later, I'm planning to help improve the article with the goal of bringing it up to GA status as soon as possible. This may also include fixing some of those things that may not necessarily be needed for GA status but why not fix them anyway.
I think it's good to give lots of information in a review; and I note that you also said good things about the article, such as "There are the workings of an emerging good article": it's good to encourage the author like that. Coppertwig (talk) 12:55, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • First, let's get the facts correct if we're going to have this out here.
  • I believe there were no {{fact}} or [citation needed] tags in the article when Arsennik reviewed it. None. Two were added after his review, and I provided reliable sources for them immediately when I saw them. I believe User:hamiltonstone can verify this statement. Moreover, my providing them quickly indicates what could have been done on many issues had I been afforded the courtesy of an opportunity to respond to the reviewer’s comments, which opportunity I was not allowed by the quick fail.
  • Statements to the effect that "Wengert achieved some early renown" and "but he is probably best known" which the reviewer erroneously characterized as “original research” were statements of fact which are now backed by reliable sources, that would have been quickly cited had I been afforded an opportunity to provide them. I was not. I have provided them now.
  • The article is U.S. based because it is in the English language Wikipedia, about an American faculty member. Contrary to the statement of the reviewer that the article “fails to establish the country of the person,” the article states specifically in the first sentence that Wengert is “an American political scientist born in Milwaukee Wisconsin.” Moreover, the Wikipedia code used in that first sentence equates “American” with “United States” (United States | American). Somebody else placed that code there. If Wikipedia recognizes “American” as “United States,” should not a good article reviewer do the same?
  • The article is “academic oriented” because it is about an academic person. And what makes academic persons notable are usually academic accomplishments, like academic publications and academic positions held. I presume the same academic things would also make Canadian and Norwegian academics notable, would they not? The reviewer apparently has no clue about what makes a university faculty member notable, if he discounts publications and positions held. Being an academic faculty member at an American university (that's in the United States, by the way) for more than 30 years, and having attained the rank of Professor, I have a pretty good idea about what makes academics notable. I have evaluated many academics for hiring, tenure and promotion decisions. And let me assure you, nobody, but NOBODY gets invited to give the Royer Lecture at Berkeley unless they are truly notable. Nobody.
  • Please allow me to offer a quote from the lead sentence at WP:Good article criteria: “A good article is a satisfactory article that has not met the criteria for featured articles. The good article criteria measure decent articles; they are not as demanding as the featured article criteria, which determine our best articles.”
  • And some quotes from WP:Reviewing good articles: “The Good article (GA) process is intentionally lightweight. Anyone (with a username) can review an article: multiple votes, consensus building, and committees are not required.” “Good articles meet a set of minimum standards (the Good article criteria) for quality of writing, factual accuracy and attribution, broadness of coverage, stability, and appropriate use of images.” The review in this instance far exceeded what is appropriate for a good article. review, and the defensiveness of the reviewer indicates he is aware of that fact. In terms of this guidance, this was a lousy review. It stinks.
  • There is nothing about how long a lead should be in the MoS for biographies concerning what an opening paragraph for a biography should look like. here. There is only "general guidance," here NOT any mandatory requirement, that “The appropriate length of the lead section depends on the total length of the article. As a general guideline, the lead should be no longer than four paragraphs. The following suggestion may be useful:
  • 15,000 characters: one or two paragraphs
  • (around 32 kilobytes): two or three paragraphs
  • 30,000 characters: three or four paragraphs
  • This is a general guideline, a suggestion. It is not a hard and fast rule; NOT mandatory. Two paragraphs are nowhere required that I can find. The reviewer overstates his case, and apparently exceeds his authority in the role of a reviewer.
  • None of my Norwegian, Finnish, or Swedish acquaintances ever failed to recognize what the US postal codes stand for. But then, most of them were attached to embassies, so they had some notion of diplomacy. If you write to someone in the U.S., you better use the postal codes or your letter may be returned by the postal service undelivered. It happens. Ah, but this reviewer is at least implicitly anti-American, so he apparently has no friends in the U.S. with whom to correspond.
  • Please forgive me if I am not much impressed by Arsenikk’s statement about performing 97 good article reviews. After seeing how he handled this one, I shudder to think what the others looked like. I was not going to say this, because I did not wish to deal with this matter on any basis but its merits, but under the circumstances it appears perhaps one needs to know: I’m the author or coauthor of more than 110 scholarly peer-reviewed books, journal articles (including some in Scandinavian journals), book chapters, research monographs, and conference papers, including two bilateral international agreements signed by representatives of national governments. Yes, I’ve previously published numerous commercial encyclopedia articles in both the United States and Europe. One or more of my books is currently owned by university or government libraries on six continents. I’ve served on the editorial board of the most prestigious scholarly journal in my field, and participated in peer reviews too numerous to count. This one is easily the most arrogant, arbitrary and worst quality review I’ve ever seen by a reviewer. Any reputable editorial board would have discarded it instead of sending it to the author.
  • I often assign team exercises in my graduate classes and grade student preformance on how they interact with the rest of their group. Arsennik would clearly earn a failing grade for his performance here to date. His self-assigned username was aptly chosen: Arsennik is truly poison for Widipedia.
  • In retrospect it now seems I was naive to think perhaps Wikipedia would be a pleasant diversion from the vicissitudes of academic life in a large American university. And I thought perhaps I could provide a little expertise and assistance in building an encyclopedia. To date, the treatment I have encountered and the arbitrary decisions made by some editors make it appear I was mistaken on both counts. If this review is acceptable to the Wikipedia culture, I can see no reason to nominate articles for review in future, and little reason to edit them at all.
  • Normally I would not have willingly prolonged such unpleasantness, but I am not adept at "turning the other cheek" when my work has been attacked by an arrogant sophomore. I did not come to my education through the traditional routes. My doctoral mentor used to tell his colleagues my first Ph.D. was earned in the "University of the Streets." I have a long scar across the palm of my right hand from an occasion when someone tried to kill me with a knife in the Hell's Kitchen part of New York City. I had no choice but to grab it by the blade. That is only a small part of my life experience, but perhaps indicates my determination when surprised by an attack.
  • I do not suffer arrogant sophomores or bullies or thugs easily. I feel no obligation to do so here.
  • In my short time here I have observed that the most aggressive editor seems nearly always to get their way, even if they are demonstrably in the wrong. There is no accountability of any substance, because such individuals take advantage of the tendency of others, and the admonitions of Wikipedia, to “get along.” Unfortunately, they do not respect the medium in which they edit. This raises serious questions about the value of participating here, and the value of the final product. Is Wikipedia dominated by gangs and bullies and thugs?
  • I understand my comments here may be considered provocative by some, especially Arsennik. Right now, I’m way north of caring. If my contributions here are not valued, as they seem not to be from the tone and substance of this review, let me assure you I can find many other things to do with my time besides coddling and catering to vicious reviewers of good articles. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 02:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Page name[edit]

I just created a redirect from Norman Wengert. I suggest renaming this page to that name, since I'm guessing it's not very likely there are other Norman Wengerts who will have Wikipedia pages about them (or if they do, it can be renamed again at that time or handled with hatnotes etc.) Arguably the MOS requires this rename: "Inclusion of middle names or initials in article titles, when they are widely known, can be a useful form of disambiguation if there is more than one person known by that name. ... However, if the person is conventionally known by only their first and last names and disambiguation is not required, any middle names should be omitted from the article title." Wikipedia:Proper names#Personal names. According to my web searches he's often cited either with or without the middle initial. Coppertwig (talk) 01:12, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Matters not to me. Don't know of any other Norman Wengerts, but his son may object. He provided the photo and is aware of the article. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 03:03, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Miscellaneous comments[edit]

I'm going to make a bunch of comments. Think of them as suggestions. I'm trying to be helpful. I'm not saying that these things necessarily have to be done to achieve GA status, or at all; others might disagree.

"and received numerous awards and honors, including a listing in Who’s Who in America.[1]" I wouldn't list the fact that he had a listing in "Who's Who" as an "award" or "honor" (though it is a bit of an honour). Are the other awards and honors documented in the Who's Who reference? I would like to delete the phrase "including a listing in Who’s Who in America" but don't know whether the delete the reference at the same time. How about giving a few examples of the awards and honors?

Listing in Who's Who is considered an honor by American academics.
Order of the Coif is an honor conferred only on law student editors of legal periodicals, which position is earned by having graduating with the highest grades in ones class in law school.
Sigma Xi is the national science faculty Scientific Research honor society, local chapters of which sponsor speakers at many American universities, and a true honor for a social science faculty member.
Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society comparable to Phi Beta Kappa, membership in which is earned by high course grades. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 15:36, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Re this ref: "“Norman Wengert.” Fort Collins Coloradoan, July 29, 2001." Is this a newspaper article? Can you supply page number, name of publisher, author of article?

Local newspaper obituary in the city where Colorado State University is located. No author given, and I don't have a page number.

"He served as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve" I presume based on the dates that "He" means the subject of the article, not his son who was just mentioned in the previous sentence. I've changed "He" to "Wengert" in an attempt to make this clearer, although presumably the son had the same last name. An alternative would be to say "Norman" here, though that seems unnecessary.

Norman Wengert served...

"Wengert held numerous academic qualifications": I delete this sentence as unnecessary. Feel free to put it back if you like; although the number of his qualifications seems to me not much different from those of a typical Ph. D. holder. Coppertwig (talk) 01:43, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Faculty who hold both a Ph.D. and a J.D. law degree are rare, and those with an additional Masters degree in Diplomacy are virtually unique. Tufts is the principle school for foreign service training of diplomats in the U.S.
Also, Having one's publications cited widely in publications by others is considered evidence of notability but citing a Google search of them would probably be considered original research in Wikipedia, would it not? Mervyn Emrys (talk) 02:58, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
OK, I guess you're right. I changed it to "During his education he attained degrees in several different fields" which seems to me to express better what you just said above, but feel free to change it or revert to the original sentence. Coppertwig (talk) 00:07, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Actual Good article criteria[edit]

Lets take a look at the actual Good article criteria and compare it to the review above. Here are the criteria, with comments relating them to the review above.

What is a good article? A good article is—

1. Well-written:

(a) the prose is clear and the spelling and grammar are correct;
It is unstated in the review what part of the prose is unclear and what spelling and grammar may be incorrect. The reviewer doesn't say, and provided no assistance whatever in this matter. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 19:20, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
(b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, jargon, words to avoid, fiction, and list incorporation.[1]
Please note the reference to the manual of style is limited to "guidelines for lead sections, layout, jargon, words to avoid, fiction, and list incorporation." The reviewer made no comments about "layout, jargon, words to avoid, fiction, and list incorporation." He did make numerous picayune comments about punctuation, and style of footnoting, which are in other portions of the manual of style, but did not segregate these comments as "optional" for this review.
Please note the reviewer interpreted as mandatory a manual of style provision for length of lead sections that is in fact an optional guidline, the reviewer saying the one paragraph lead should be "at least three times longer." The manual of style does not say that, providing instead recommendations for leads based on total length of the article.
Please note also the reference to footnote [1], which says specifically:
"Compliance with other aspects of the Manual of Style is not required for good articles."
Numerous elements of the review above, which I have marked with "MOS," are apparently based on "other aspects of the Manual of Style" which are "not required for good articles" under these criteria, but were included here anyway, and appeared to bar approval of the article as a good article.

2. Factually accurate and verifiable:

(a) it provides references to all sources of information, and at minimum contains a section dedicated to the attribution of those sources in accordance with the guide to layout;
A reflist was provided and reliable sources were given for factual statements. Additional references were provided within 24 hours of the time they were tagged by User:hamiltonstone. Arsenikk did not tag any of them.
(b) at minimum, it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons;[2] and
Please note the phrase "at minimum." I believe the article conformed to this requirement in every regard. Certainly it did after I provided additional references for statements of fact made by others.
(c) it contains no original research.
The article contained no original research. Reliable sources were provided for all comments highlighted by the reviewer which might have been considered "original research" within 24 hours of the time User:hamiltonstone tagged them. They were in fact statements of fact which could be attributed to reliable sources.

3. Broad in its coverage:

(a) it addresses the main aspects of the topic;[3] and
(b) it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
The article did both of the above. Please note the admonition to "(see summary style)" which is what the article did. Apparently the reviewer thought greater detail was desirable, which detail could easily have been provided within a few days, including an explanation of the theoretical proposition. But how much of this explanation would the reviewer have tagged as original research?

4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias.

The reviewer did not have any problem with this, other than perhaps the "balloon popping" part, which could be easily rectified.

5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day-to-day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.[4]

The reviewer did not have any problem with this.

6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:[5]

(a) images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content; and
(b) images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.[6]
The article contains a photo of the subject provided by his son, with appropriate copyright status. The photo could be and was easily moved to the infobox as suggested by the reviewer.

Did not notice previously this section was unsigned, so I signed it now. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 03:37, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Its all too much...[edit]

I created a new page for Wengert's publications and tagged the section here about Public service and academic career with a link to it, and by the time I got back there to see if the link worked, all the references were gone, replaced by a speedy deletion notice. I don't know how to recover them from the history page without having to redo all the formatting, so I'm leaving it as is for the time being, in hopes that whoever tossed those references into the ozone by tagging the new page while I was working on it might be able to recover them. Seems like I can't do anything here without somebody trashing it (always for what they believe are very good reasons, of course). Mervyn Emrys (talk) 00:18, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Now I've got Eustress telling me to create a separate page for the references, and DGG telling me not to do so, and that they will be added back to this page. I'm ready to tear my hair out. Is a little consistency too much to ask? Mervyn Emrys (talk) 01:08, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, consistency is too much to ask at Wikipedia!! How can anyone expect it when we have no definitive way of deciding anything but conduct disputes? All efforts to establish one have been rejected. The way to resolve it such as we can is to discuss it here. I think such separate pages are appropriate for creative writers, certainly, and for very famous people otherwise. Darwin, Einstein, Plato. But not for anything less. We have almost no pages of this sort for scientists or other academics of lesser rank. What we really need is a subpage mechanism, like at Citizendium. 01:13, 17 March 2009 (UTC) DGG (talk)
Signature for above?Mervyn Emrys (talk) 01:25, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the signature, at least. What if an involved party like Eustress is unwilling to come here to discuss it? Does everything wait in limbo until you two sort out your differences? Mervyn Emrys (talk) 19:28, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for the frustrations!! I similarly ran into trouble a few days ago when someone suggested something and I did it, and it turned out to have been the wrong thing to do. The consensus system takes some getting used to. It can be a bit of a minefield, but in some ways it's great.
Do you have a preference yourself as to whether to have a separate page for the publications, Mervyn Emrys? I don't have a preference, but I think it's probably safer to have it in the same page or someone might delete the publications page again later. I think we can state that there is rough consensus for having the publications on the same page: only one editor, as far as I know, said to use a separate page, while those of us here plus the speedy-tagger and the deleting admin all seem willing to agree it should not be a separate page.
I put the scholarly publications back into the article, copied from the page history. If you've put some work into editing these when they were a separate page and want to recover that work, you can ask any administrator for a copy of the deleted page; if you ask me to, I'll ask an administrator for you. Coppertwig (talk) 20:31, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Uh, oops, I guess it's been decided that they're on a separate page. It looks as if the speedy tag or whatever was only because the page was very short because it hadn't been finished. I don't think it was even really a speedy tag as such. When creating a new page, you can edit it offline or in userspace or somewhere (or just click "preview" and not "save page" for a while, hoping you don't lose your Internet connection in the middle of it) and create the page when it has a significant amount of content; or you can put {{underconstruction}} on the page to try to prevent it from being deleted while you're working on it. Coppertwig (talk) 20:37, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I think it makes more sense to include the publications of an academic in the main article, but there seems to be some difference of opinion between Eustress and DDG about that, so I was waiting to see if they would resolve it before doing anything else with it. I'm not big on stand-alone lists. Still haven't seen any indication Eustress is still interested tho. Maybe wait a couple days and see if anything turns up. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 03:44, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Moved list of publications back here where it belongs per User:DDG and nominated list for deletion. Now we'll see who tells me this is the wrong thing to do... Mervyn Emrys (talk) 19:32, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ Who’s Who in America 1982–83, 42d ed. Willamette, IL: Who’s Who, 1984, p. 3524.