As a former student of recently retired University Art Museum Director Herman Mhire, I was disheartened to read R. Reese Fuller's account of past and recent operations at the museum ("Museum Meltdown," Nov. 23). The article presented numerous details about the relationship between the university's president/administration and Herman/UAM as almost entirely factual, often offering little concrete evidence to support those facts other than quotes from the various individuals involved. Since I am not privileged to conversations, e-mails, letters and other private communications between University and UAM staff, donors and supporters, I am unable to comment specifically about the details presented. However, having known Herman Mhire since 1975 when he first arrived at UL, I can attest to his wide-ranging vision, uncompromising determination and ability to inspire and ignite a genuine passion for the visual arts in his students, the larger community and those well beyond UL and the city of Lafayette.
As we all know, there would be no UAM without Herman. I grew up in Lafayette in the 1960s when there was little (essentially no) opportunity to have firsthand experience with works of art. The range and quality of exhibitions that Herman brought to the region ' for years prior to the opening of the amazing new facility ' can neither be underestimated nor overvalued. My own experience working as a student assistant under Herman in the tiny original Fletcher Hall gallery was instrumental in my choosing a profession in the museum field ' and I always give some credit to Herman in my making that decision.
It is thoroughly disappointing that Fuller does not present a more responsible, equally balanced and better-documented article. The Independent owes that to its readers, and especially to Herman Mhire.