Sunday, June 29, 2014

Part 2: Alumni Weekend 2014

Okay, okay. So I know I said I would post Part 2 of my Alumni Weekend experience last week, but please forgive me. I mean, it is summer for me; a time of no "to do" lists and no assignment deadlines that I'm trying to meet the night before cough cough morning of  it's due... so it sorta slipped my mind.

As a staff member, I attended the Summer Gateway Program kick off dinner - a feature on that to happen in the coming weeks! - last night and had the honor to meet and hear Mansfield Alum Freddy Coleman '87, @ColemanESPN, speak. On my walk home, I had that oh crap moment and realized that I still needed to post about Alumni Weekend! So here we go!

While making my rounds in Manser, I happen to see President Hendricks chatting it up with some alum and an open seat at the table. I knew right after asking if I could join the conversation that it was a good pick because I soon learned that these alum were friends with the President during his time as a student. Not even two minutes after sitting down, Jerry Wood '77 broke out his phone and pulled up a group picture of frat brothers from the seventies with the President and that infamous fro like the one Photo of the Day. President Hendricks is a brother of Lamnda Chi.
President Hendricks, left, at a student dance in 1978.
Borrowed from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania's Facebook page

Let me tell you, the alum that I spoke with kept me laughing the whole time. My favorite story, from Chester Nebrotski '75, a brother of then Phi Sigma Epsilon (Phi Sigma Kappa today), was about two sentences and his delivery was hysterical. "I was leaving a party at the Sig Tau house and I looked around outside and I had no idea where I was. HOW DO YOU GET LOST IN MANSFIELD."  LOL.

Susan Smith '77 was laughing the whole time when she was telling me about how students would take the lunch trays from Manser and use them as sleds down by the Maple hill. I then proceeded to tell her about how that's the urban myth around campus today of why we don't have lunch trays in Manser anymore. She got a kick out of it.

From left to right: Jerry Wood '77, Chester Nebrototski '75,
Susan Smith '77, and Guy Smith '76
The group continued to tell me stories about how Spring Fling started while they were all students, parties with dozens of kegs, and others that I probably shouldn't publish. The one thing that they reminisced of that I thought was cool was how Mansfield's non official slogan at the time was Mansfield: The Other MU, as a play on Millersville University.

Chester, Jerry, and Guy Smith '76, were/are all brothers of Phi Sigma Epsilon prior to it's national merge with Phi Sigma Kappa, which is what we have on campus today. We got on the topic of study hours and I was telling them how the brothers today have mandatory study hours each week. They all chuckled and explained to me their study hours. They started at 5 o'clock each day... around a TV for Star Trek. At 6 o'clock, brothers would either continue to "study" on a different channel that played more Star Trek or head up to dinner.

"They carried me, we carried each other."

I also had the pleasure of speaking with William Walsh '78, Thomas Howe '75, and several other Phi Sigma Kappa brothers that I must regret to admit that I did not properly take down their names. My defense being that I was so wrapped up in the good conversation! Please alumni - correct me if I'm wrong! - but I believe I also spoke with Michael Bense '74, and Charles Gordon '71.

Thomas Howe '75,left, with Bill Walsh '78, right, and friends.
I'll make sure to update this when I get their names, don't worry!
Bill Walsh was the first brother of Phi Sig to come back to Mansfield's Alumni Weekend. Since then, he organizes within his brotherhood every year for usually around 25-30 brothers to return during Alumni Weekend. They typically come up a day early to golf on their own, participate in the Golf Tournament at Cory Creek on Friday, meet up with current brothers of Phi Sig, and stay a day longer than the sponsored events by Alumni Relations.

Much like the sisters of DZ that I posted about in Part 1, the brothers stressed that we as current students do not understand what the relationships that we are currently developing with our friends while still in school mean. It won't be until after graduation, five, ten, even twenty years down the road when we will realize how strong the bonds we are making now will be. It'll be when we come back for Alumni Weekend and relive the memories that we're making right now, is when we will learn what being a Mountie really means. 

Before I wrap this up with Maureen Fallon-Walsh '78, Bill's wife, and the current students of Alumni Weekend, I'd also just like to share a key point to every alumni and their stories. Every table I had the pleasure of speaking with all said the same thing - it was a different time when they were here. Whether it was the technology, after WWII, or like with the brothers of Phi Sig, after Vietnam and many of the students were war vets. Everyone had a different experience and us, as current students, are in the same yet completely different ball park as them. 

Maureen Fallon-Walsh '78, left, Jerry Wood '77, center,
and an very goof ball of a friend. Sorry I didn't get your name!
Before I headed out of Manser, I was honored to speak with Maureen, this year's recipient of the Alumni Citation Award. Maureen is the first ASA sister to be given the award, and by the sounds of it, she really deserved it! The award is presented to an alum who contributes to society through civic leadership, philanthropic work, and professional leadership. She has a degree from Mansfield in both Criminal Justice and Psychology and has always been a major advocate for Special Needs Rights. And this isn't even her first award for her work! Outside of her professional life, Maureen loves the beach, shopping, reading, and is really involved with her church. She was such a pleasure to meet and I really enjoyed my time speaking with her! I know its sorta bad quality, but at the end of this post you can read even more about Maureen and her accomplishments after Mansfield as told by the Alumni Relations brochure. 

I would like to thank Denise Burg and Andrea Swain '02 again for inviting me along to the Alumni Weekend events! I can't wait till Homecoming weekend now to have the opportunity to meet and speak with more alum! I'd also like to give a shout out to the Student Staff of Alumni Weekend. Well, and recent graduate, Brad Veach '14, congrats Brad! 

As pictured from left to right: Brad Veach '14, Katie Muirhead, Craig Rose, Mitchell Sensenig, and James Scarantino. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Part 1: Alumni Weekend 2014

Thanks to Denise Burg and Andrea Swain ‘02 from Alumni Relations, I was very fortunate to have been able to attend the Lobsterfest Dinner Friday night as part of the Alumni Weekend events.

Photo courtesy of Adam Murtland '12
Alumni began arriving in Mansfield on Thursday and were invited to an event filled Friday and Saturday both on and off campus. Friday’s events included the annual Golf Tournament at Corey Creek and the Lobsterfest Dinner. On Saturday, alums took part of the Alumni Reunion Luncheon where select alumni were inducted into the Society of Honors and the Class of 1964 presented their class gift. Saturday also hosted a Create Your Own Ice Cream Sundae at President Hendricks’s house as well as the College Place Tennis Ball Race.

Below, you can read stories I’ve gathered on Friday night from Mansfield’s very own alumni. Today’s post includes interviews with three lovely groups of alum: sisters from DZ, members of the Class of 1964, and a former majorette!  Make sure you check back tomorrow for another post with more stories from alumni, including some from and about President Hendricks!

Get out of your rooms. You know, we didn’t have computers or TV. We got to know each other and developed a close bond and everyone’s doors were always open. We would all sit in the lounge together.

These were the agreed upon words from “The Women of Culture and Adventure,” a group of alumni Delta Zeta sisters who I had the pleasure of speaking with Friday night at the Alumni Weekend Lobsterfest dinner. The women, names, basically finished each other’s sentences. They spoke with me about DZ taking up the entire fourth floor of Laurel, kayaking trips through the gorge and getting to Manser right at the start of dinner to get “prime seats” to scoop everyone out for the duration of dinner.

But more importantly than their stories of their time spent at Mansfield, was what they first spoke with me about. Over 30 years since they all had graduated, these women, along with others who were not in attendance to Alumni Weekend, are all still in touch today. Their children are all grown now and they still plan vacation together and meet up for lunches.

From left to right: Sharon Mokrynski Kendrick '81, Kim Soper '79, Linda Zastavny Berry '79, Donna Boehringer Zaun '76, and Wendy Hanchak Bocknovich '77

Diane Hess Bardsley, who celebrated her 50th Class reunion this year with the class of 1964, told me about middle of the night fire alarm pranks by someone that they never caught. She explained to me that it was in protest of the President of the University at the time because he apparently spent a whole lot of university money on a new dog house for his dog.

Diane studied Home Economics while she was at Mansfield and was the 1963 Yearbook Editor. While I spoke with her and her husband, Vincent Bardsley, who is alum of West Chester University, they told me stories about how women had 7pm curfews their freshman year and 10pm curfews their sophomore year till the graduated when men didn’t have a curfew at all.

Now, this was during the era where North Hall served as the women’s dormitory. Men weren’t allowed in North Hall except for once around Christmas time and the same was true for the women not being allowed into the men’s dorms except for once around Christmas time… and now I have guy neighbors on both sides of me in Sycamore!

Janet Campbell Hoover ’64, added on by explaining how women couldn’t wear slacks except to The Hut. She spent her summer between her junior and senior year on campus and she reminisced about how her and her friends would put their trench coats on over their pj’s or shorts and head to The Hut for sandwiches.
I asked what The Hut was like when they were here. Diane and Janet painted a restaurant like picture for me, kind of like a student center too. Students would play cards, get sandwiches, and just hang out.

The two ladies told me about how every Monday through Thursday students would dress up for dinner in Manser. Like, I’m talking dressed up, heels, suits, everything, and not only did they have to dress up for dinner, but everyone had assigned seats and they would rotate your table every nine weeks.

I laughed to myself at the thought of this, not because of the complete change of how Manser runs now, but more because of how it seems like we self assign seats. I can picture Upper right now, with certain groups sitting at the same table or in the same area for every meal. Even my friends, we typically always sit in the booths over by the Grill.
I also had the pleasure of talking with two couples who were all Mansfield alum: Donald Mahon ’52 and his wife Mary Konsko Mahon ’53 and E. Edward Thompson ’56, a brother of Phi Mu Alpha, and his wife Doris Reigle Thompson ’54.  What was interesting about speaking with this particular group of alum was how their day to day life at Mansfield differed from ours today because a lot of students at the time were WWII veterans.

I spent time speaking with them about my experience partaking in Mansfield’s marching band my freshman year as well as updating them on current music ensembles on campus. Edward had a lot of questions about Phi Mu Alpha today so I tried to help answer them the best I could. While Mary was here, she was actually a majorette of the marching band! She said this to sum up her experience as a Mansfield student: 
Photo courtesy of Adam Murtland '12 

“We were so small. We knew everyone. There was a great deal of respect. It was a true Alma Mater.”

Mary Konsko Mahon '53, center, with fellow majorettes Marsha Earley Malinich '54, left, and Dorothy McCabe Gordon '54, right.

Friday, June 13, 2014

New Student Orientation: Welcome Class of 2018!

Hi Mounties! Well, the lovely founder of The Mountie Guide, Briana Bayer, has finally packed up her things in Mansfield and is off adventuring in the next phase of her life. I'd like to say congratulations on graduating, Bri, and thank you again for giving me this opportunity to keep the Guide going. 
Keep and eye out for an introductory post from me in the near future!  
- Erica

I'm staying in Mansfield this summer and working as the student worker for the Counseling and Learning Center in South Hall. Yesterday, I realized that a New Student Orientation happening and thought what a prime opportunity to meet some new students as well as a summer post for the blog! So, I grabbed a note pad and ran over to Manser during my lunch break to do some mini interviews. 

Let's welcome some new students!

Name: Lindsay Vincent
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: Towanda, Pa 
What brought her to MU: "Its close to home, I like the campus, and they have great nursing program I'm hoping to get into!"
What she's most excited for: Meeting new people
What she's most nervous for: Hard classes
Her favorite thing so far about Orientation: "I love how friendly everyone is and all of the information."

(I love how Lindsay already had on some Mountie gear!)

Name: Elizabeth Deuel
Major: Forensic Science 
Hometown: Jersey Shore, Pa 
What brought her to MU: "Its one of the only schools around that had my major. Its also close to home."
What she's most excited for: Meeting new people and the freedom
What she's most nervous for: Keeping up with her chemistry classes
Her favorite thing so far about Orientation: "Eating! I was so hungry! And getting my schedule."

Name: Kierstin Goodby
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: Jersey Shore, Pa
What brought her to MU: "I have a lot of friends who go here and I've met some really nice alum who liked it here!"
What she's most excited for: Meeting new people, being on her own from her parents
What she's most nervous for: Keeping up with classes, having enough free time away from schoolwork
Her favorite thing so far about Orientation: "Getting to know people! And everyone has been so friendly today!"

Elizabeth, left, and Kierstin, right.

Brian Kircher; transfer student
Major: Criminal Justice
Hometown: Perkasie, Pa
What brought him to MU: "I know the area pretty well; my grandmother has a house close to here so I've been coming up this way for years."
What he's most excited for: Being in a new place, being able to meet new people, and doing something different with his life
What he's most nervous for: Exams - since they're such a big part of the course grade
His favorite thing so far about Orientation: "How helpful everyone is and how nothing is confusing. Even my schedule is nice and easy to read."

Additionally, I was able to chat with an Orientation Ambassador.
Name: Cody Carlson
Major: Communications
Year: Junior
Hometown: Elmira, NY
His favorite thing about orientation: "I love introducing all of the new students to MU and helping to get them antiquated with campus."
How he got involved with being an Ambassador: "My mom was one when she went here so I was sort of born into it. My leaders were great during my orientation they made me want to be the same way. They really made my transition great and I want to help do the same for the new freshman." 

Cody, right, with Assistant Director of Admissions, 
Matt Guagiardo, left. 

To see what the new students did during their orientation, you can check out the first year students schedule here and the transfer students schedule here. Or if you wanted to just check out the New Student Orientation homepage, you can do that here, as well as the Admissions home page here! Is that enough here's?