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. 

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