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Summer 2011: Letters to the Editor

Editor’s Note: IUP archivist Harrison Wick received a large, enthusiastic response when he asked for identifications for a picture in the Spring issue of IUP Magazine. He said he appreciates all the messages, a few of which are reprinted below.

Good News

The students pictured on page 27 in the latest IUP Magazine are as follows: Left to right, La Rue Epler ’55, Jean Federici Dobis ’55, Marian McCurdy Costanza ’55, and John Petchar ’56. The Swing Out show was Good News (the movie version starred Peter Lawford and June Allyson). The photograph was taken in the Blue Room in John Sutton.

—La Rue Epler ’55
Hanover, Pa.

Quite a Comedian

I know the identity of the “young” man on the right in the “Preparing for Swing Out” picture on page 27. He is John Petchar, and he was a fraternity brother (Sig Tau), a fellow ROTC cadet, and a good friend. We graduated in 1956 and did not remain in close contact but saw each other at some alumni reunions at IUP. He was a very talented actor and singer and quite a comedian. He was a genuinely good person.

—Joe Angelo ’56, M’63
Indiana, Pa.

Editor’s Note: John Petchar died in 2008.

Illustrious Careers

I was delighted to see my mom’s picture in the Spring 2011 edition of IUP Magazine. I understand that you were looking for the names of those four people pictured. My mom is third from the left, and her name was Marian McCurdy. She and my father, Alex Costanza, met at IUP, married, and had long and illustrious careers as music teachers. I also went to IUP and am thankful to have carried on their musical tradition.

I wish the picture would have run just a bit sooner—my mom died on February 11. She would have loved to have seen it. Thanks for keeping the memories alive.

—Kim Costanza ’83
Cranberry Township, Pa.

Editor’s Note: In addition to the writers above, Wick also heard from Karl Friedline ’53; Eleanor Mihalyi Gallati ’54; Ron Baughman ’55; Philip Cavanaugh ’55; Nick Cook ’55; Shirley Hoenstine Davis ’55; Dot Gardner Dringman ’55; Janet Cook Loch ’55 and Merle Loch ’56; Dwight Pecsenye ’55; Linda Broeseker Pepin ’55; Clifford Cox ’56, M’59, M’68; Ned Wert ’58; Tony Petchar ’69; Laurie Martin ’81; Janice Fox; Alexa Costanza Hansen; and Crystal Costanza Ross.

In for a Landing

In the fall of 1972, I was an IUP student from Pittsburgh. A friend with parents who were somewhat well off asked him to rent a plane (he had his pilot’s license) at Jimmy Stewart Airport, pick them up at the Allegheny County Airport, and fly them to Virginia Beach. He offered a ride down to Pittsburgh to a couple of us. I’d never been on any sort of plane, so I jumped at the chance. I called my mom and told her I had a ride home for the weekend.

The County Airport (near where Century III Mall would be built later that decade) was more congested than usual. Presidential candidate George McGovern was landing for one of his campaign stops about the same time as our little four-seater.

I called my mom from the terminal to ask her to send my uncle, a retired machinist who lived with us, out to pick me up. She said my dad had taken the afternoon off work, so he could come.

“Why did he drop you at the airport,” she asked, “when he practically had to pass the house on the way?” “They wouldn’t let him land the plane on the street,” I responded. Silence, followed by, “What do you mean ‘plane’? You said you had a ride home.”

“Yes, on a plane.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“What would you have said?”

“Don’t you dare!”

“That’s why.”

Thus, I had my very first plane ride, a close encounter with a Presidential candidate, and a classic mother/daughter conversation. My return trip to Indiana was by car.

—Mary Jane Hovanec ’73
State College, Pa.

Doctoral Pioneer

I am happy to report that it has been forty years since I became the first student to graduate from [what later became the State System of Higher Education] with a doctorate. I graduated in 1971 with a Doctor of Education Degree in Elementary Education. My degree from IUP has served me well over the past forty years. I taught in three universities training teachers for thirty-three years and have been happily retired for the past seven years. As a result of my education at IUP, I have been the author of over two hundred professional journal articles published in the United States, Australia, Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, a book I authored on reading instruction was a bestseller in three countries, including Australia.

—William O’Bruba D’71
Bloomsburg, Pa.