Homecoming week brings back memories for alumni

Although the whole University celebrates Homecoming, for alumni, Homecoming means the chance for them to return to their campus home. There were several reunion parties on campus last Friday – the Young Alumni, 25-year, 30-year, 40-year and even 50-year reunion. All gave alumni the chance to catch up with old friends, meet some new people from their year, remember the old times here at UM and take note of all the changes.

Diane Nelson Chapin ’64, who helped organize the Sexy Sixties Reunion – the 40-year party – and served as President of Women’s Student Government, said that “campus is much more beautiful now” and the “quality of study has improved” along with the students. Chapin recalled that in the early ’60s they had a curfew.

At the Friday Night Fever – 25- and 30-year reunions – alumni remembered being able to walk onto the football practice field. Ken Kurs ’79, whose father was a professor on campus, remembers getting to met Ted Hendwards, one of the four UM players to have their number retired.

Robert Ringleheim ’74 remembered swimming in the lake to get back the footballs his friends threw into it, although they “weren’t supposed to do it then either.”

Many alumni who came back to campus noted that there are many more buildings, campus is more modern and the dorms are now air-conditioned.

Young Alumni Courtney Chapin ’03, finishing up the Special Education program at UM, and John Cangiolosi ’00, now in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science graduate program, met at UM while living next door in Pearson Residential college and recently got engaged.

The Jitterbug Club ’50s reunion was the biggest party of the night. There was a ’50s theme with film clips playing, doo-wop rock and roll music from a full horn band and soda pop girls on skates as hostesses.

Gerald “Jerry” Kogan ’55 graduated from both UM’s undergraduate and law school. Kogan, who was Student Government vice president at UM in the ’50s talked about his time here and said that he and many of his friends still keep in contact. Kogan also met his wife, Irene, on campus when she served as senior editor of the Ibis yearbook. Both were members of Iron Arrow Society.

Betty Woollen Dunnuck ’65 was here when the student union – what current students know as the University Center – was brand new. Dunnuck said that she and many of her classmates are still friends today. In fact, she met her husband at UM on a blind date.

“While my life afterwards has been fantastic, this was the best time of my life,” Dunnuck said.

Candice Castaneda can be contacted at c.castaneda2@umiami.edu.