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Class Notes

50TH REUNIONU of R, U of R, ’68!

While many of the historic events and cultural moments of 1968 continue to resonate in American social and political life, members of the Class of 1968 also remember the era as their time on the River Campus. It was a momentous period, shaped by events involving civil rights, the Vietnam War, trends in music and entertainment, and the assassination of civic and political leaders.

On campus, during the senior year for the class, a student strike—sparked after protesters tried to block recruiters from Dow Chemical—had ramifications for student and faculty governance. In the spring of 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Students’ Union was founded.

At the same time, members of the class were immersed in a community marked by friendships, scholarly and career opportunities, encounters with new ideas, introductions to a wide range of people, and just plain fun.

As with all 50th reunions, members of the class were asked to submit reflections on their time at Rochester as they prepared to return to campus for Meliora Weekend. The submissions are collected for a memory book that’s shared with class members. Here’s a small sample of those memories.

To learn more about this year’s Meliora Weekend, October 4–7, visit Rochester.edu/melioraweekend.

Mina Aprill Aibel

Major: History

Hometown: New York City

“Rush Rhees coffee hour, the insane fresh apple vending machine in the basement of the Hill, the end of curfews and coed hours, Winter Weekend with Duke Ellington, picketing Dow Chemical Company in front of Strong, and Robert Kennedy coming to Rochester.”

Guy Bailey

Major: History

Hometown: Stamford, Connecticut

“Freshman orientation, the strike in December of senior year, the Preachers band, lifelong friends, my 1960 Triumph TR-3, the Bungalow, late-night poker games, the best music ever from ’64 to ’68, Genny Cream Ale.”

Janet Fish Baldwin

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Maine, New York

“Becoming friends with a few RNs also pursuing their BS in nursing. Working as an RN weekends on campus at the Student Health Center and one to two, half shifts per week/weekends at the Brightonian Nursing Home on Elmwood Avenue kept me busy! Finally realized my dream of getting my BS degree, enabling me to become a public health nurse.”

Martha (Marty) McRoberts Bartlett

Major: Political science

Hometown: Shelby, Michigan

“Sunday afternoon study break concerts at Todd given by Eastman students. Taking Hindi with only two other students. Dr. [Richard] Fenno and his courses about how Congress works. The silence that fell on Rochester Philharmonic Hall on April 4, 1968, when it was announced that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated.”

Lora Kaywin Block

Major: History

Hometown: Bennington, Vermont

“Bringing only skirts to campus freshman year and the change in fashion expectations for women to wear pants . . . what a relief. The excitement of moving to the Towers after coming home from a semester at the University of Warwick! It was coed! There were suites!

“And I fondly remember the pride of giving tours to prospective students as a member of D’Lions.”

John Dunnigan

Major: Business

Hometown: Flemington, New Jersey

“The visual impressiveness of the Eastman Quadrangle when I first arrived on campus. The splendor of the Dutch elm trees and the stately buildings wowed a young freshman.”

Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs

Major: Biology

Hometown: Kingsport, Tennessee

“Strong Auditorium and the smell of the greasepaint, learning new music a week before a show opened, exhausting late-night rehearsals with a chem exam in the morning, and the fabulous theater people. How to Succeed in Business had to be my favorite.”

Robert Klein

Major: Optics

Hometown: Albany, California

“Many memories involve music at the River Campus and at Eastman. I was concertmaster (first clarinet) of the symphonic band at the River Campus for three years. One of my favorite memories is of hearing the Eastman Wind Ensemble perform at the Eastman Theatre twice a year.”

Marjory Wieczorek Myhill

Major: Biology

Hometown: Severna Park, Maryland

town(Photo: Shannon Taggart for Rochester Review)

“I saw Bobby Kennedy when he was campaigning on campus. When the great northeast blackout struck, I was in a music practice room in the tunnel between the women’s dorm and the women’s gym. But, never fear—the U of R was so well organized that somebody showed up quickly with a flashlight to lead me out.”

Ted Rabkin

Major: Mathematics

Hometown: Rockville, Maryland

“I spent years working on the tech crew for the plays in Strong Auditorium and was the only one on it who also acted. The summer after I graduated, I did construction, technical crew, and sound for the first year of the University of Rochester Summer Theater.” After graduation, Rabkin was drafted into the US Army and served in Vietnam as an infantry sergeant with the First Cavalry Division. He earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and an Air Medal.

David Ragusa ’76W (Mas)

Major: English

Hometown: Venice, Florida

town(Photo: Shannon Taggart for Rochester Review)

“I have many great memories of my time at Rochester. I consider those four years to have given me the basis for so much of my life. In the memory category, my time as an athlete at the University made me part of a group of fellow students who sacrificed lots of time and energy in pursuit of the sports we loved. I was never happier at Rochester than when I was involved in sports.

“When I remember Rochester, I remember the fun I had and the people I shared it with. I walked across the frozen river to go to the bars on Genesee Street; I went to a Beer Blast in the Todd Union on Saturday night, then attended Catholic Mass in the same spot on Sunday morning; I used to sit at a table in Todd listening to the Beatles in the afternoon; I got my mail in the post office box at the old Todd and still remember my box number, 5432; my grandmother used to mail me chocolate chip cookies and an occasional five bucks to keep me going.

“When I think of the U of R, I see images of my past. Moving into Gilbert Hall, room 205 as a frosh. I can see all the cars on the lawn across the street, and all the kids who seemed so much more prepared than I was; I see pink sheets, created because my first wash made all my white clothes pink; the Quad in winter can be beautiful and very cold; the Palestra for a basketball game during the week could serve as a great study break; the main room at Rush Rhees where I went to pretend to study when I was actually just looking for a date.”

Douglas Rundell ’77 (PhD)

Major: Chemical engineering

Hometown: Elmira, New York

“Many of my best memories from Rochester revolve around the radio station WRUR, where I served as a control room engineer, technician, treasurer, and station manager.”

Barbara Bockelmann Rundell ’79 (PhD)

Major: Biology

Hometown: Glen Ellyn, Illinois

“I remember all the fun places we went to for socializing: beer blasts at the MDC, hanging out in the Steinkeller in Todd Union, hiking with friends over to Izzo’s or ‘The Bung’—even if it was freezing cold outside: We enjoyed these get-togethers on and off campus—wonderful memories of good times with old friends. I also enjoyed working in the biology labs of Dr. Raven and Dr. Muchmore one summer. What a great opportunity to get to know the faculty and grad students in their research environment. In order to stay in Rochester over the summer, I and five classmates rented a house near campus and enjoyed this time together. I have fond memories of sharing a Tower suite during senior year. My suitemates and I shared food, music, clothes, etc. There was never a dull moment in that suite. We are all still friends.”

Michael Steinberg

Major: English

Hometown: Glencoe, Illinois

“Playing bridge in Todd Union, conversations around the dining tables of the Towers, courses taught by Russell Peck, and fraternity parties. My worst memory is Calculus 161, which is still my ‘no-pants’ nightmare.”

Ardith Albers Wylie

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Springfield, Illinois

town(Photo: Shannon Taggart for Rochester Review)

“Walking from Strong Hospital to our dorm, Helen Wood Hall, either outside or in the tunnel. Riding the bus everywhere—for fun or for home-nursing assignments. Doing puzzles in the dorm living room. Clinicals, like learning to find a vein in a fellow student, and having the ‘easiest-to-find’ veins myself, so that anyone who couldn’t find a vein on their partner got sent to try on me! Our triangular caps—staff at one of the hospitals I later worked at called me ‘the flying Nun’ because of my cap and because I always walked so fast down the hall. Graduation!”

—Kristine Thompson