One of the more popular events at Reunion each year is “Then and Now,” a panel discussion in which alumni from the anniversary classes join with current seniors to explore how student life has changed through the years. In years past, the insights offered were both humorous and enlightening. This year’s panelists—Grace (Clee) Starrett ’53, Nancy Mueller ’53, Mike Curry ’63, Carol (Gray) Ritter ’63, Alaina Springsted ’13, and Sarah Stefanelli ’13—kept that tradition going.
Mueller started the proceedings in uproarious fashion when, in response to a question about what students did on weekends in her day, she admitted, “I don’t even remember what I did yesterday!” After pausing to think, she recalled most stayed on campus since few had cars. “Shall I say we also studied? I guess we did a little of that,” she wryly added.
Curry’s confession as to why he stayed on campus each weekend kept the crowd rolling. “I went to an all-boys high school. The first place I saw women was here, and I wasn’t about to leave them on the weekends,” the former wrestling coach and professor quipped. In his day, the most popular weekend hangouts for students were The Edgewood, the Merry Go Round, and Slocums; the latter is still frequented by today’s students, Stefanelli noted.
A question about where undergrads ate on campus conjured images of The Inn’s “miscellaneous meat” in Mueller’s mind. Her classmate, Starrett, had fonder memories of the establishment, recalling how students were served their meals and dined with professors. Ritter, too, seemed to recall a fondness for the campus dining halls of her day. She divulged that by the time she went home for break during her freshman year, the clothes in her closet no longer fit. “I guess that means the food here was good.”
Asked what they did when snow canceled classes, Stefanelli said sledding on cafeteria trays used to be a popular activity (until the administration put an end to the practice). Curry recalled one storm that closed school for an entire week, thus canceling exams. “It was the greatest snowstorm ever!” he exclaimed. Mueller, seeming somewhat incredulous that the question was even asked, remarked, “What did we do when it snowed? I guess we walked through it in our galoshes—because we didn’t have boots back then!”
Talk eventually turned to academics—more specifically, which professors and classes students sought out or avoided. Curry joked that he tried to avoid “all of” his classes—particularly psychology. “When I couldn’t even spell the word, I didn’t want to take the class.” Mueller explained students from her era didn’t have the choices today’s do: “We had to take Saturday classes…and even classes on Friday at 5 p.m.,” she recalled. But it was worth it, she said. “I felt very well trained as a teacher when I left here.”
Five graduates of the College were honored (two in absentia) at the Alumni Leadership Awards Ceremony held on April 26 as part of the 2013 Reunion festivities. Click here to read about this year’s winners.