It’s been 50 years since UMD’s class of 1963 passed through the campus’ hallways and marched across the frozen tundra from Old Main to the Science Building. On October 5, the class returned to UMD to celebrate their golden reunion and to marvel at how much had changed. The day began with a continental breakfast and campus tour, then featured lunch with Chancellor Black and a seat inside Malosky Stadium’s suite level for the Homecoming football game. The celebration moved off campus for dinner at Midi Restaurant in Duluth, Minn., where classmates strolled down memory lane by pouring over 60′s era yearbooks.
During the reunion, a reporter from UMD’s campus-wide newspaper, the Statesman, interviewed two members of the returning class, John and Mary Lintula. Their granddaughter, Junior undergraduate Kalli Alexandrou, is currently a student at UMD. “I always knew that my grandparents went here and that was one of the reasons I looked at UMD,” said Alexandrou. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on campus with them before. It’s fun.”
Alexandrou sat with her grandparents in the Garden Room in Kirby Plaza and reminisced about all the changes that have come about at the University over the last five decades. “UMD is huge now,” said Mrs. Lintula. “It’s beautiful. It’s all connected.”
The buildings on campus in 1963 were independent of each other with a lot of outdoor open space that has since been filled with various academic and administrative buildings as well as parking lots. “We talked about [campus] being the tundra,” said Mrs. Lintula. “You would park your car on one side of the school and then have to walk all the way to the gymnasium.”
As the winter months brought the ice and snow, students had to brave the cold to get to their classes. “I had swimming class in the winter session and an English class that I had to walk outside to afterward,” Mrs. Lintula said with a laugh.
Although the landscape has changed over time, the entire college experience has transformed beyond imagination.
“I’ll tell you the biggest change is the expense,” said Mr. Lintula. “I can’t believe how much it costs to go to school now. I think it was $300 for my semester’s tuition. I also wonder if students know the professors like we did. We had smaller classes. Years after we left, we would run into our professors and they would remember us. I don’t know if it’s that way now or not.”
Among the many extracurricular activities available, 1963 students enjoyed dances, balls, and live music throughout the year on campus. There were annual yearbooks and a desire to keep the memories alive long after the day of commencement.
“It’s a nice school,” said Mrs. Lintula. “A wonderful experience.”
See photos from the Class of ’63′s 50th Reunion!
After chatting during the reunion’s continental breakfast, many of the 1963 alumni continued their day with a campus tour led by facilities leader John Kessler. From the old back entrance where the UMD Library used to be located (where UMD Stores is located now) to the main hallway of Heller Hall, memories burst from everyone. Several classmates exclaimed over the rock displays lining the walls of Heller Hall.
“They’re still here!” they said before discovering that Heller Hall is one of the few buildings that hasn’t changed since their class roamed the halls. The group also visited Chem 200, recently renamed the Kobilka Lecture Hall in honor of Brian Kobilka (‘77) who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
After the tour commenced, the group met for lunch at the Bulldog Club Lounge in the Malosky Stadium. They wrapped up the homecoming festivities with a private dinner at Duluth’s Midi restaurant overlooking Lake Superior.
(Portions of the UMD Statesman story courtesy of Graham Hakla)