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Monday, May 15, 2006

Everything old is new again

Looking over the list of registrants for the 40th reunion of my Rutgers University class didn't inspire confidence. I knew maybe four people on the list of about 50. But once we were all together on campus last weekend, any apprehension was dissolved by our common bond: We shared life on the New Brunswick campus from 1962-66, pursued careers (some into retirement) and still feel connected enough with the university to come back to reminisce 40 years later.

So you didn't recognize this person or even that name? Neither did the person you just met, maybe for the first time. Apologize for not staying in touch? Just being there erased any need for guilt. We were just a bunch of middle-age guys who looked like middle-age guys. (Sorry, but women didn't graduate from Rutgers until the early '70s.)

Our class came in third in the Spirit Contest for classes marching in the All-Alumni parade up College Avenue in the morning. If we knew it were a contest, we would've been more boisterous or donned a more outlandish uniform. The winner, the class of 1956, had many more grads and wore goofy hats. Later, we learned the 50th anniversary graduating class always wins that award. So in 10 years, it'll be our turn. Sure hope we don't look 10 years older.


Anonymous Hal Shill said...

As a colleague on the Rutgers DAILY TARGUM (1962-66), I had the pleasure of working with Larry Benjamin through some turbulent years at the University and in the country. He was an excellent writer then and now, and he also set an example of integrity for younger journalists on the college paper. Several of those persons now occupy key positions in state and national media, and he has helped launch their careers.

Larry is correct that the bonds endure. Rutgers is a much larger institution now than it was from 1962-66, but we classmates share bonds forged through riveting events (Cuban missile crisis, the campaign for civil rights, the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War) and the high academic standards demanded of Rutgers students in those days. As Larry notes, we even felt bonds with classmates whom we hadn't even known as undergrads.

Rutgers has changed greatly in the past 40 years, but it provided an environment that forged business leaders, military heroes, college professors, political activists, judges, artistic leaders...and fine journalists. I hope that the current generation of Rutgers students will have the same sense of esprit de corps shared by the Class of 1966. The football team's 2005 success has evidently had a positive impact on student recruitment! The Press's readership is fortunate to benefit from the insights and integrity of one of our best.

Harold (Hal) Shill, Ph.D.
Rutgers Class of 1966

11:14 PM, May 15, 2006  

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