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.

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