I now take an evening class at the Feinstein Academic Center, once Stephen Hall, the dorm where I, a “day hop” who walked to school, spent evenings with “The Holz,” my study partner on our journey toward medical school. I envied those dorm students, so very connected to each other, as I wished to shed my moniker of “day hop.” What was that song coming from the end of the hall…? Ahmad Jamal, Errol Garner? Mack the Knife? Venus? Stagger Lee? Were they listening to WDOM, the station that reached only the Campus? The memories linger.
The Campus was perfect, compact enough to see almost everyone every day, even as a pre-med stuck in a lab. It sparkled in all seasons. When I walked by the ROTC students, their neat uniforms made me feel like I was missing something. I should have joined. Nah. Never mind. I’m going to med school. And those Friars Club guys, they’re everywhere!
Should I go to Mass at 10:20 between classes or walk across the parking lot to the cafeteria to do the crossword puzzle? I stood in awe when Mullaney went by. I said, “Hi Coach,” but he didn’t answer. Should I wear this Beanie? Oops…there goes Egan, and there…Wilkins. And, my God, a priest, smoking!
Dave Duffy in an interview some years after graduation said, “PC was great. It was intimate; there was so much spirit.” The Campus helped make it so. He defined the class of ’61 as “having a lot of imagination in doing the things that it did.” Did imagination make us different? What things did we do? Did we act out? How? Where was I? In the lab? Probably.
How did we show imagination? Was it the pass-fail system, the challenge to the Administration over disciplinary actions or testing procedures? Did “Censorship exist in the Administration and in a Student Congress that attempted to force the members of the Cowl Editorial Board to sign their editorials?” Were these the beginnings of student activities that would culminate in the late sixties and mellow in the early seventies? Was it us that started all that stuff? After all, we published an underground newspaper, the “Scowl,” which lampooned everything. Memories linger.
Our yearbook was dedicated to the Providence College Man, “a wise and good man, one who has developed a quest for knowledge, a love of truth, and a mastery of the Christian virtues.” Imagination had to spring from those virtues. The yearbook staff chose thirty-one members of the Class of ’61 to represent the PC man. All admirable choices. The memories linger.
Graduation day, though interrupted by rain, was emotional; in our robes, walking through the campus with faculty and dignitaries along a tree lined path; Mom, Dad and family watching; the clicks of so many cameras. The ceremony culminated in the granting of our degrees, but not the tossing of the mortar boards for the rain pre-empted us. We dashed away to be with loved ones who shared our pride. And off we went.