I being the ultimate romantic, you can imagine my feelings when I read your mail. It literally brought tears to my eyes. There isn't any part of my life that seems more distant and remote than the years that I spent at Upsala. But those were great years, and the memories will never be forgotten.
When I arrived there from Little Horseheads, NY in the fall of 1953, it was the first time I had ever been away from home. It was almost by accident that I attended Upsala. A boy that I played sports with in High School was accepted there, and for some reason I decided to apply; in July or August, I think. I had already started work in a TV tube plant, and had no idea of going to college. However, I was accepted and the two of us went off to East Orange. Our parents drove us down, and wouldn't you know it we were back home to see our girlfriends the next weekend. My friend lasted one semester, but I stayed on until the finish. By the way those girlfriends became our wives and still are today. Tuition plus room was in the $400 per semester range in those days.
As a freshman I tried out for baseball (pitcher), and was lucky enough to make the team. I played with Bill Holt, Fred Hill and Bill Pollack among others. Bill, I think is active or was in East Orange politics. The last I knew, Fred was baseball coach at Rutgers and Bill Pollack is the pitching dentist from Newark. We had some great teams, never lost more than 3 games in a season. I was lucky enough to win my freshman start 12-0 against Hartwick College. The next year my first start was against MIT and I beat them 2-1 allowing 3 hits and striking out 11.
The field house was built during the time that I attended Upsala. I played a lot of intramural basketball there. As I recall, I was the first scoring champion in that building. I decided not to play college basketball, needed the time for studies.
I became a member of the Theta Epsilon fraternity, and eventually moved into their fraternity house on Prospect Street. They lost the house when the college forced them to close it. Then I moved into a private house. The last affair that I attended was a fraternity party in the 70's. I was very disappointed that no one from my era showed up.
I think that I still have a lot of copies of the Gazette, but I may have taken them back when I went to that party. I'm a pack rat. Have yearbooks for all my years there. I still regularly wear my navy blue cardigan with the big U on the front of it. It's very comfortable during the winter months. I see the press box in one of your photos of the interior of Viking Hall. I occupied that box for one season when I was a sportswriter for the Gazette. That year the GODS (Theta Epsilon) occupied the bulk of the staff of the Gazette.
I am currently semi-retired having had open heart surgery in 1992 that didn't go very well. A history major, I ended up in computers in 1965, and later on went into materials management in manufacturing. Currently I'm doing some consulting in operations management and computer systems. I'm also researching and writing a book on the Civil War. I also do some Civil War and general research and deal in historical books and documents. Some of this I do in association with the county historical society and some of it is part of my business. I also lecture on the Civil War. So you can see that I finally got around to using my degree.
I'm originally from the Elmira, NY area. My family has lived near here since 1800. But since college we have lived in East Orange, outside of Philly and we spent the 70s living in the country north of Baltimore, Maryland.
Well Jim, I could go on and on about my college years, and all my friends who are gone (not necessarily dead, but I haven't seen any of them in so many years), but not forgotten. I did subscribe to the 1993 Upsala directory, and I see your entry in it.
As far as the school's closing, I know very little about it. I got the impression that the last president was very fiscally irresponsible, but I don't know any of the details. Maybe you can enlighten me. Jim, write me anytime you want. I would love to hear about the Garden State, and any other Vikings you run across.
Class of '57
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