Letters

Foggy Mountain Memories

My name is Trudy Harris, and on April 5, 2006, I remembered the Hometown Heroes of IUP, 2003. So much has happened in my life since the deaths three years ago of my niece, Shelley, and her two children, Samantha and Mason, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that fateful morning.

I have never forgotten, nor do I let a day go by, when I don’t say a prayer of thanks for these beautiful girls [members of the IUP Rugby squad] who turned out to be angels in the eyes of my family. I have lost track of those who contacted me and was hoping that perhaps you could post something to let them know we still think of them fondly.

I am trying to let the girls know I still think of them. My heartfelt, eternal thanks to Erin Harkins, Christina May, Justine Metzger, Joeylyn Miller, Jaime Noble, Molly Perchinski, Karen Reidel, Jessica Scheetz, Jennavieve Sloan, Rachel Stern, and Audra Turner.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

—Trudy Harris
Virginia Beach, Va.

The Evolving Campus

As a former music student, I cannot imagine the excitement felt by the faculty, staff, and students upon moving into the newly renovated music facilities outlined in the Spring issue of IUP Magazine. For many of us, though, campus changes like the renovation of Cogswell Hall are bittersweet.

Since my graduation from IUP in 2000, many changes have taken place on campus. The “HUB” as I once knew it has changed dramatically. The beautiful renovation of this facility has transformed the familiar spaces where I spent hours working, eating, studying, and gathering. As a member of a greek-letter organization and a part-time employee of the old HUB Rock Café, I spent a considerable portion of my college career in a place that is no longer there as it once was.

As a music major I practically lived in Cogswell Hall. I spent countless hours practicing and performing in old spaces that were far from state of the art, but have become integral settings to cherished memories. I can never again step into one of the old practice rooms (while first waiting in line for a while, of course) or rehearse on stage in the old Orendorff Auditorium with marching band equipment lining the back wall. The sights, sounds, and atmosphere of that old building are gone, unable to easily cue the joyful memories of my time there. 

Pretty soon the landscape of Tri-Halls and a large portion of the residence hall system will be vastly different than I knew it. As a Resident Assistant, and eventually a Head Resident Assistant, I encountered a career path I did not know existed. Today I have a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration and have been working as a student affairs professional for six years, thanks in no small part to my experiences living and working in the campus residence hall system. 

Progress and growth mean battling the pangs of necessary change. I’m so very proud of my alma mater for its commitment to progress. As a student affairs professional I applaud IUP’s efforts to provide the best possible facilities to the students of today. But that pride is accompanied by a small degree of selfish melancholy. The physical reminders of my own experience have disappeared. These new spaces cannot prompt recollection or induce feelings of nostalgia. Although I grieve for the memories that over time grow fainter, and the distance that erodes their clarity, I am encouraged by the promise of what lies ahead for the next generation of IUP scholars. 

Charles Dubois said that what is important is “to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” 

Indeed.

—Joe Mull ’00
Pittsburgh 

Tired of Blank Stares

Now that IUP’s nickname appeal has been denied, is there any effort underway to seek alternatives? IUP is a great school, and I enjoyed my time there very much; however, the school name and the nickname have always bothered me. The Indiana Indians? First of all, having to explain to people what in the world Indiana University of Pennsylvania is for the past fourteen years is getting old. I usually just give up and say I went to Indiana and leave it at that. At least people know what a Hoosier is.

We have some of the best programs and faculty in the country but still no one knows who we are unless they’ve been there. What’s wrong with a regional name for the school? University of Western Pennsylvania Mighty Oaks? Kind of catchy, eh? Or Western Pennsylvania University Crimson. Or Fighting Squirrels. Or Miners. Any of those have more of a direct correlation to the school than the general “Indians.” Take a survey, and I’ll bet that 98 percent of the student population has no idea what Indians even populated that area.

All I want is for one day to be able to tell people where I went to school without receiving a blank stare back.

—Matthew Warnock ’97
Arlington, Va. 

All Kinds of Accommodations

The coming replacement of IUP’s older dormitories with new ones has a parallel in the development of the railroad sleeping car. For many years, the most prevalent type of sleeping car built and operated by the Pullman Company on America’s railroads was the “12 & 1” consisting of twelve Sections and one Drawing Room.  These sections, six on either side of the center aisle, comprised the fabled “Uppers” and “Lowers” still seen in period movies, with the facing seats in each of the segments open during the day, then converted into upper and lower berths by the porter and enclosed by heavy curtains on either side of the narrow aisle.  The Drawing Room was a private accommodation, with men’s and women’s washrooms at opposite ends of the car.

In theory, such a Pullman car could accommodate up to twenty-seven passengers, one in each of the upper or lower berths and three in the Drawing Room, with even more crammed in during wartime movements of troops and family travel during the Second World War. In time, various designs offering more private accommodation such as the single and double bedroom and compartment were introduced, with the most versatility demonstrated with the “Roomette” which was introduced in the late 1930s.

The first such cars contained seventeen Roomettes with eight on one side of the aisle and nine on the other and a seating area in the middle of the car for use by passengers while the porter was turning down or making up beds as required depending on the time of day. The next refinement eliminated the seating area which increased the number of Roomettes per car to eighteen, and postwar designs managed to fit twenty-one or twenty-two Roomettes into each 85-foot sleeper, all of which were equally desirable compared to the claustrophobic Uppers.

—Jack Reefer ’69
Harrisburg, Pa.

What’s Goin’ On?

As an alumnus I am always curious as to what’s going on with IUP, particularly how it is improving and the campus is changing. Many of my friends who are also alumni are also curious about building projects and renovations. It would not only be nice for alumni to see and read about all that’s going on in this area in one place on the website (or more than one page in IUP Magazine), but may as well encourage them to open their wallets if they can really see  all that the university is doing and trying to do. I am amazed that a university such as IUP does not promote what’s changing and the physical face and future of the campus—the physical campus is one of the biggest selling points for a university, and potential students (as well as alumni) want to see and read about what’s going on with it.

Whatever happened with the South Campus? Greek Village? New football field, etc? We let each other know when we hear something new... why isn’t there any proposed info on the Waller/Fisher renovation? Is Wilson being renovated? When? What will it look like? Is the RDC going to happen? Wasn’t it going to hold 8,000 seats? Now only 4,000? 6,000? What’s it going to look like? Because alumni and potential students are interested in this kind of thing, why not expand IUP Magazine and devote an expansive and easy-to-find section of the website just to this area. This is a BIG area that the university is failing horribly in taking advantage of with not only alumni, but prospective students as well.

—Don Swanson ’01, M’03
Indiana, Pa.

Save Those Slides

Enclosed please find a box of old slides, circa 1967-68, that you may add to the magazine’s archives or discard.

I enjoy reading the magazine and look forward to receiving the news and articles it contains.

—Paul Steckel ’66, M’73
Canandaigua, N.Y.

And Now, This Personal Message

(To William Powell ’69, subject of “Detroit Detour” in the Spring issue, from a fellow ROTC alumnus)

Gomer, that’s great! Have you seen Norton up there? I flew back from RVN with him and have not seen him since. If you get to Raleigh, N.C., look me up. My best to you.

—Bob Mitten ’69, IOBC ’70
Raleigh, N.C.