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Letters to the Editor: Summer 2017

Familiar Faces

In this photo [spring 2017] are four good friends of mine. From the left are Monica Butts, Robin Roberts [Williams ’87], Renee Eubanks, and Lynn Hinson.
It was great to see the pic. Lynn is one of my fraternity brothers (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.), and the ladies are part of our little sister organization, the Alpha Angels.

Kenny Pitt ’86
Philadelphia, PA

Editor’s Note: Tanya Muir ’90 also wrote archivist Harrison Wick to identify the students in the photo.

Among Furgiuele’s First

Thank you for the inspiring story about Sam Furgiuele in the recent IUP Magazine. I was thrilled to learn about his long career at IUP and that we freshman art education majors were among his early students (in 1958).

Oh, how we loved him, and we knew he loved us as he stood and gazed at us and our smiling, fresh faces.

Many of us went on to become art educators across the country and, I’m sure, remember our semester with him. Great teacher.

Suzanne Nesbit Visor ’62
Albuquerque, NM

A First-Call Bly Expert

I was interested in reading Bob Fulton’s story about Nellie Bly in the latest IUP Magazine. I noticed that, in her picture, Pat Heilman is holding Brooke Kroeger’s biography of Nellie.

It might interest you to know that my late husband, John Englert, an alumnus of IUP from the late ’50s, was instrumental in doing the research about Nellie’s childhood for that book. He also helped film the Cochran’s Mills/Apollo sections of American Experience, which PBS did years ago. He lectured about her in Armstrong County, as well as in Pittsburgh, and we have extensive files from the research he did.

When Brooke Kroeger came to Armstrong County to do research for her book, the first person she was told to call was John, which is how he happened to be able to help with the book.

Jane Butler Englert M’74
Manorville, PA

Editor’s Note: John Englert ’59, M’62 also cowrote a story about Bly, “The New American Girl,” for the Fall 1994 edition of IUP Magazine. Part of the PBS documentary the writer references was filmed in IUP’s Breezedale.

Jimmy’s Homecomings

I was in school at IUP from 1955 to 1959. The Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart was from Indiana. His father lived in Indiana and had a hardware store downtown.

Jimmy would come home to Indiana to visit with his father. When we students heard that Jimmy was coming home, many students, hoping to catch a glimpse of him, would walk up the hill to his father’s home.

On one of his visits to Indiana, he stopped at the Keith School Demonstration Room. I was student teaching at that time in kindergarten, and it was exciting meeting him.

Jean Keller Vitacco ’59
Barnegat, NJ

Editor’s Note: The writer shared a story about Jimmy Stewart recently published by Erickson Living’s Tribune.

Room 316

I noticed on the back cover of my IUP Magazine the address 316 Sutton Hall. What a coincidence! When I was a freshman in 1968, I was put with a small number of freshmen on a sophomore wing in Sutton across from room 316. A week after we moved in, the sophomores came. That was when I met Norma Murdock Hornick [’71] and Kathy Coscarelli [Wall ’71], roommates in room 316. We became very good friends, even though my freshman enthusiasm drove Norma crazy most of the time.

Norma and Kathy were members of AOπ [Alpha Omicron Pi]. They convinced me to go through rush that spring, and I, too, became a sister. Norma became my Big Sis. It was through AOπ that I met my roommate, Lisa Oddis Caruso [’72], who is still my best friend. At the end of the year, Norma and Kathy were able to bid on a new room in the newly opened Stewart Hall. As lowly sophomores-to-be, Lisa and I were not able to move out of Sutton, so we put in a bid for room 316.

For us, it was like moving into a suite. The room was L shaped, so one part became our work/sitting room, and we closed off our “bedroom” with a long drape. We were one of the few that had such “spacious” accommodations. I have very fond memories of room 316, Sutton Hall. After our sophomore year, we were able to move to Stewart and then into Mack as seniors. This summer, there will be an AOπ reunion [see page 35 of print edition], organized by Sue Lepley Miller [’72, M’76]. Lisa and I intend to make a side trip of our own to see how Sutton and especially room 316 look now.

Connie Sablofski Farmer ’72
Easton, PA

Editor’s Note: Former Sutton Hall residents who return to the building may find that their rooms have a different number—or are missing altogether. The rooms were renumbered after the extensions to the north and south wings were demolished in the late 1970s to make room for Stapleton Library.

Toasting Dave Rovnan

In the spring of 1981, IUP sponsored an intramural softball league. Teams entering the league played at various locations around Indiana and, based on regular-season records, could reach the playoffs. If they continued to win, they eventually went to the championship game.

Residents of Stewart Hall, and our friends, decided to form a team and, as we were a pretty nondescript bunch, decided to call ourselves the Generic Softball Team. Somewhat surprisingly, the team did very well, reaching the championship but losing that final game.

Friends of Dave Rovnan at a get-together

Friends of Dave Rovnan at a get-together last year. Front: Michael Ellis ’82, Thomas Esbenshade ’83, and Wade Lauer ’81. Middle: Rob Masson ’83, Dave Arnold ’83, and Alan Smith ’82. Back: Steve Caligiuri ’85 and Mark Lugin ’81.

One of the members of the team was Dave Rovnan, a journalism major who graduated in 1984. While attending IUP, Dave reported for, and eventually became editor of, the Penn, our campus newspaper. His senior year, he lived on Third Street with several other members of the Generic Softball Team. Dave was a tremendous guy, always upbeat and ready to joke around with his roommates, just like a brother. That year, Dave competed in the IUP College Bowl with Rob Masson, another Generic Softball Team member and roommate. This competition tested general knowledge on a wide range of subjects, and, unlike in intramural softball, Rob and Dave’s Ed Lubanski Memorial Team won first place. When they returned to the house on Third Street sometime later, they were still celebrating and, perhaps, had a few drinks. They were marching around the house shouting, “We know EVERYTHING,” with the greatest smiles on their faces. It was a moment I will never forget and always cherish.

Very sadly, several years later Dave Rovnan died in a boating accident after jumping in the water to save a family member who had gone overboard in the Chesapeake Bay. It is believed he hit his head on the boat and drowned. No one who knew Dave was surprised that he would try to save another person at the risk of his own life. Many former members of his Generic Softball Team and of his College Bowl team attended his funeral.

Following our days at IUP, a number of us who considered Dave our good friend continued to get together on an annual basis. We gathered regularly for a number of years after graduating, then went on hiatus for some time. But, in the last 10 years, we have again been meeting annually. At these gatherings, it’s our tradition to raise a toast to Dave Rovnan and remember what he meant to us in the too-brief time we were privileged to know him.

When the Generic Softball Team finished its second-place season, we all signed a game ball, and team member Al Smith decided “no frills” was a good moniker to place on the ball. The ball has faded a good bit over the years, but most of the signatures are still legible. We would very much like to locate a member of Dave Rovnan’s family, so we can give the ball to the family as a memento of how much Dave meant to his friends. Anyone attending IUP now should know that the friends you make at IUP can last a lifetime, and even beyond life.

Dave Arnold ’83
Chambersburg, PA
Robert Masson ’83
Culpeper, VA

Sea Elephant’s Journey

In a photo caption in the spring issue of IUP Magazine, the marble sea elephant housed in Stapleton Library was described as an anonymous gift to the university from the early 1970s. Seeing the photo, Bill LaFranchi, retired director of Libraries and Media Resources at IUP, came forward as the donor. In a call to the magazine office, he said Aaron Leventhal, former Student Union program director, inspired him to make the gift when they saw the piece more than four decades ago at an exhibit of sculptor Jane Armstrong’s works at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts in Ohio.