University of Rochester

Rochester Review
March–April 2012
Vol. 74, No. 4

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Romancing Rochester

I enjoyed reading “Rochester Romance” (January-February 2012) and every other article in the latest Rochester Review, and I wonder if any other couple began their relationship with a bet. When I was finishing my MS in physiology at the medical school, I shared a lab with Thad Szymanski who was doing a research project for [physiology professor] John Murlin and taking courses in the evening on the River Campus. One day we were discussing a problem he had encountered and disagreed about a chemical test. He bet me a dinner. I was right, and our first date was at the best Italian restaurant in Rochester.

We were married two years later in Denver.

Betty Beall Szymanski ’47M (MS)

Bradenton, Fla.

The January-February issue’s In Memoriam section included the name of my late husband, Charles H. Hoke ’45. The interment ceremonies in Arlington Cemetery were inspiring as well as emotional events that appropriately honored his life of service.

Three other subjects in the issue twanged my memory strings.

First, “Dating NROTC” (Letters) corrected by Nelson Simonson ’47, may have still other corrections. Charles Hoke was sent to Columbia University where he and many others ran up and down John Jay Hall (12 stories and no elevators) in 1944, and he received a certificate which certifies that Apprentice Seaman Charles H. Hoke, U.S.N.R., was a member of the November class of the U.S. Navy College Training Program of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dated Oct. 24, 1944, it is signed by President Alan Valentine and Lt. CDR and Commanding Officer William Neill, U.S.N.R.

The last two twanged strings are combined in my “Meliora Moment.” Outside the side entrance of Cutler Union in sight of the Anderson Statue was the moment in December 1944 that I was given my apprentice seaman’s Psi U pin and received a proposal I had no intention of turning down. It was absolutely the wisest decision I ever made, and gave me a life overflowing with rich blessings. We were married May 19, 1945, on his 23rd birthday, and he never forgot an anniversary in 66 years!

Among five children, thirteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren are two further “proofs” of the efficacy of “Meliora Moments”—a son, Charles H. Hoke Jr. ’72M (MD), and a grandson, Jerome Hoke ’13.

Elizabeth Conklin Hoke ’45

Bethesda, Md.

Spreading the Dandelion Fame

Thank you for bringing the U of R’s latest events as well as the accomplishments of both alumni and current students into my living room in Korea. Although I was unable to attend my 50th class reunion in 2010, my college experience there has never been far from my thoughts, thanks to old friends and to Rochester Review, faithfully mailed to me here in Asia.

As always I enjoy reading it, and this time was no exception. I found several items that brought back memories which I’d like to mention.

1. Pictures and articles about the famous YellowJackets, the group organized by [music professor] Ward Woodbury ’54E (PhD) in 1956, the very year I entered the U of R. Those were the musical men with whom I shared making music in the Chapel Choir and the Women’s Glee Club.

2. Photo and report of a current student who is an Edmund A. Hajim Scholar and is studying in Robert B. Goergen Hall. These two men’s names are very familiar to me—in those olden days they were just two college guys with whom I studied and played!

3. Reference to Arthur May, exceptional and unforgettable historian, well-known in many circles—my teacher in my freshman year whose profound knowledge of history inspired us, his youngest U of R students. Just listening to Dr. May and his compelling way of talking, we all learned that history is important. How special that the University brings its beginning students into such close contact with distinguished scholars whom we never can forget. Dr. May, Dr. Vera Micheles Dean in the then new non-Western civilizations area, Dr. J. Edward Hoffmeister in geology, and others of their caliber made our Rochester education a lifelong gift. (And here I am in one of those “non-Western civilizations,” Korea, for the past 45 years.)

Kudos to us all for being a part of the University of Rochester! Long may she live, through our lives and manifold contributions to the world.

Greetings to all my sister and brother Rochesterians of yellow dandelion fame!

Sunny Reid Strawn ’60

Seoul, Korea

Got Any Advice?

With commencement season upon us we’re looking for advice from Rochester alumni for the Class of 2012.

We hope to gather samples of accumulated alumni wisdom for a story in the May–June issue of Rochester Review.

So here’s your chance to play commencement speaker: What’s your secret to a successful, happy life? What do you know now that you wish you knew as you were graduating? We’re looking for a wide range of advice—from careers to family life to community to achieving your goals.

Rochester Review,

Review welcomes letters and will print them as space permits. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. Unsigned letters cannot be used. Send letters to Rochester Review, 22 Wallis Hall, P.O. Box 270044, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0044;