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Letters to the Editor

Smith’s Legacy Lives On

I was saddened to read in the Fall-Winter 2011 edition of IUP Magazine about the death of Dr. Helena Smith. To help keep her legacy alive, I want to share with your readers some of the memories that I have about Dr. Smith. I haven’t had contact with her since I graduated in 1967, but I think about her class often. Dr. Smith set the stage for me, as a first-semester freshman, to have a positive college experience.

I was a mathematics education major and Dr. Smith taught freshman communications, and communications was not my favorite subject. However, I enjoyed Dr. Smith’s class, not because of the subject matter, but because of the professional manner in which she presented the subject and how she conducted her class. As a freshman, I was aware that someday I would be the teacher, and I needed to begin thinking about how I would conduct my own class. Dr. Smith was an instructor I wanted to emulate. As I progressed through the remainder of my college experience, I recognized that Dr. Smith employed the same good teaching practices that I learned about in my education courses. 

I had Dr. Smith’s class on the afternoon that President Kennedy was assassinated. As class started, Dr. Smith acknowledged that a tragedy had just taken place and that some instructors had canceled class because of it. However, Dr. Smith said that there was nothing that we could do about it and that we would have class as usual. I remember thinking that Dr. Smith was right and that President Kennedy would have wanted us to carry on.

William Mikesell ’67
Enon Valley, Pa.

More to the Family

Thank you for your article on John Johnson’s family [“Family Affair” from the Fall-Winter 2011 issue of IUP Magazine]. I would like to add the name of my mother, Helen E. Johnson Neidig, to the list of Johnsons who are IUP graduates. She was a cousin of John Johnson’s—her father was Park Johnson, Ernest Johnson’s uncle. She was a 1941 graduate of IUP and taught art in the Fox Chapel School District for many years and was a member of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society. She passed away on September 29, 2011. I include my name as well. I am a 1968 IUP graduate, and Marian Johnson Kipp was my math teacher at IUP. I remember her fondly.

Sheila Neidig Carlin ’68
North Salem, N.Y.

Editor’s Note: IUP archivist Harrison Wick received a number of letters, some of which are reprinted below, about the 40-Hour Dance Marathon photo from the 1976 Oak that appeared in the Fall-Winter issue of IUP Magazine.

Reliving the Dance Marathon

I enjoyed the picture in the photo gallery in the recent IUP Magazine online. I am able to identify the couple in the middle of the picture as Sue Curran ’78 and Dave D’Alessandris ’76. They have the eagles on their shirts. This was quite an event back in 1976 for the residents of Esch Hall who lived on the top floor of that dorm. We called ourselves “the Top Shelf.” It was the height of the disco era, and everyone from the floor was rooting for Sue and Dave. It was quite an event, and we went crazy when Sue and Dave won.

I had the best time at IUP.

James C. Spera ’79

Flood of Memories

Was I ever excited to see this picture in IUP Magazine this week! What a flood of memories it brought back for me. It was a fantastic show. The girl on the left is Marchia Pittman, cheerleader. I don’t know who her partner is. The winning team, in the middle, is David D’Alessandris ’76 and his girlfriend at the time, Susan. I’ve forgotten her last name. She was a freshman. David and I were seniors (art majors) that year. David and Susan worked very hard to prepare, so we were thrilled when they won. The tall girl on the right is Mary Jo McCoy, Indians football team mascot. She was quite the talented athlete. I don’t remember her partner’s name. I have to say all three teams were very competitive and talented, and it was an exciting contest. They all had wonderful stunts and costumes. If you look back in the yearbook, there was a darling little boy with Down’s syndrome who charmed everyone during the marathon. He was sort of the poster boy for the event, which was held to raise funds for a Down’s syndrome organization. It was a great success and one of the outstanding memories of our senior year.

Valerie Kester Morrissey ’76
Oakland, N.J.

Editor’s Note: Also writing in to identify Mary Jo (McCoy) Pollock in the photo were Randall Mikesell ’77, of Maidens, Va., and Jan Hudzicki ’78, of Mission, Kan. Both added that Mary Jo was a graduate of Indiana Area Senior High School.

Faces in the Crowd

I just received my IUP Magazine and was looking at the picture of the dance marathon from 1976. I graduated from IUP in December of 1976. I at first thought I saw myself in the picture, but the hairstyle doesn’t look familiar, so it’s probably not me. However, two of my fellow Physics majors, Robert Hawsey ’77 and Tom Guzowski ’77, are standing behind the girl wearing the glasses. I have already e-mailed Mr. Hawsey to let him know about the picture. I have no contact information for Mr. Guzowski (don’t know if that’s the correct spelling, but there were only four Physics graduates in May 1977, so it wouldn’t be difficult to find his name in the records).

Since you are looking for memorabilia from that time period, I was wondering if you would be interested in having my IUP gym suit (maroon and white stripes, all one piece). I have no idea why I kept it, but it is in excellent condition, and you are welcome to it.

Marian Dougherty Goodnack ’76

A Grueling Competition

I was delighted to see the 1976 marathon photo! I was present for that moment but am not in the photo. The marathon had begun on a Friday night in spring, near the end of the semester. It ended on Sunday afternoon with a physically grueling “dance-off” between the three couples in the photo, none of whom were giving up voluntarily as the event organizers had anticipated. The winners were the couple in the center, “Wazoo” and Sue. Both of them had lost weight in recent months, most notably Wazoo, and their determination and fortitude won them a trip, although I’m not sure where to (Florida?). It took place on the basketball court in the old gym in Waller Hall. Sue was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority. The participants were not allowed to sleep nor sit down save for short breaks and had to constantly be moving or be disqualified.

It is possible I have other photos of both Wazoo and Sue, as they were part of our extended group of friends. At the time, I was living across the street at 1100 Oakland Avenue, the “Mars Hotel,” in a house of Alpha Sigma Alpha sisters, now the site of Taco Bell.

Rebecca Heim Fonzone ’77
Orefield, Pa.

Fund-raiser, Too

After reading my latest IUP Magazine, I had to dig out my Indiana Gazette article [from March 2, 1974] from the first marathon held at IUP. We raised $700 and thought that was fantastic.

Ruth Ray Yatzkanic ’75, M’99
Home, Pa.

Almost There

I am not in that pic, but I certainly remember participating in the marathon with my partner, Steve Bell ’78. We almost made it to the end! Steve kept getting big leg cramps, so we had to quit. It was a great time—sorry I can’t help identify any of those people.

Chris Straka Hess ’78
Mount Wolf, Pa.

Possible ID

I may be wrong, but the man on the right (dancer) may be Jim Stobie ’73, M’76, a grad student when I left in ’75.

Lee Cole ’75
Evergreen, Colo.

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