I guess it wasn't such a stupid question I would have expected everyone to say "of course you mention him! It gets you past the interns!" The shortness of the cover letter was the only reason I was hesitating, and I see that I had good reason to feel that way.

I suppose it felt different from the average "Try these magazines" because he sought me out in the halls later to ask if the story had been published and to make the suggestions. If it had come directly after the reading, I wouldn't have felt as much like it was a referral. He did write for one of them, but not the other.

Thanks, guys!