Each year, the Bucknell University Alumni Association creates a special edition of The Bucknellian newspaper exclusively for Reunion Weekend. All alumni celebrating their reunion year are invited to share stories and reflections of their Bucknell experience and where it’s taken them today. This year, 21 alumni authors volunteered their time and memories to write an article for the 2018 Reunion edition. We’re pleased to bring you a sampling of articles in this four-part series.
Back to the Bubble
Karen Carpenter-Baker, Class of 1988
I had a pit in my stomach when my parents and younger sister got into the car after spending hours lugging all my stuff to the third floor of Larison Hall to get me situated for my first year at Bucknell.
I told them I decided I wanted to go home with them. Permanently.
“You’re staying,” my mother said. “You’re going to love it. You’ll see.”
How right she was. Those four years went by so fast. Too fast.
Like so many of us, I made friendships I knew would last forever (they have – I consider my college friends like family). I have so many great memories from my time at Bucknell: talking into the wee hours about life, politics, classes we loved (like Poli Geo with Professor Peterec), the drama du jour (and there was always drama!) and all the firsts we were experiencing.
Songs I remember blaring from people’s rooms and at parties include “Purple Rain,” “Into the Groove,” “I Feel For You,” “American Pie” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
Then there were trips to the Bull Run and Curly’s, tubing on the Susquehanna, late nights at the Bertrand Library, shopping at the campus bookstore when it was headquartered in the “UC,” Bucknell’s version of Billy Idol (who I ran into years later at a party in NYC – he was doing great), going to the tiny movie theater in town to see what have now become iconic 80s films, such as “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Dirty Dancing,” walking under the frothy canopy of cherry blossom trees that lined the academic quad, House Party Weekend, football and basketball games, the Mods, spring break, parties… and so much more.
Now here we are, 30 years after we said goodbye to Bucknell, when most of us are entering – or have already entered – our 50s (!) and are busy with work, kids, and life. So much time has passed since we first set foot on campus, yet sometimes it seems like we were just there.
As we return to Lewisburg for Reunion Weekend, here’s what some of the Class of ’88 has to say about three things that come to mind when they think of Bucknell – and their fondest memories of their time in the Bucknell Bubble.
Susan Wallace-Cowell ’88:
- Fun 2. Friends 3. Home
Memories: Tent party (the way it used to be) with the BJRE playing music is always a great memory… So is Jan Plan! Jan Plan was the best, especially as an athlete (I was a runner on the track team) because we had to stay on campus. A group of us took Chinese cooking together one year, which was a blast. Having that time on campus was unforgettable.
Destiny Brown ’88:
- Friendship 2. Security 3. FUN!
If I had to pick one memory that sticks out, it would have to be all the fun we had going to fraternity parties. The whole weekend revolved around which house we would visit Friday and which house on Saturday. I remember how much fun it was to borrow each other’s clothes to be sure you didn’t wear the same outfit too often! It was such a blast to hang out with the girls and hope that your crush would notice you. The best way to be noticed was to dance dance, dance…so dance we did! Oh, to be able to stay up until 1 a.m. dancing again…
Denise Walsh-Fong ’88:
- 1st East 2. Sorority/Fraternity fun 3. Christy Mathewson Gates
Favorite memory: March 13, 1987, when BU won the ECC’s against Georgetown.
Lori Gordon Shafer ’88:
The first happy memory that comes to mind – Bid Day! Running up the stairs and through the halls of Hunt knowing a large group of girls are about to excitedly welcome you with open arms into your new sorority. Pure elation the entire day. Hoarse for weeks from laughing and singing. And the beauty of Bucknell is that this entire experience, not for one second, did not quell my love and closeness with established friends who pledged other sororities or remained independent.
Jan Slaghekke ’88:
- America (my first time there) 2. Memories 3. Mates
Favorite memory: Walking down fraternity row with all the freshmen on my hall as we all turned off to our individual fraternities to join up as pledges. As a foreign student, that felt like becoming part of a great United States and university tradition.
Jon Leef ’88:
- Laughter 2. Beauty 3. Opportunity
Best memory: Phi Gam House
Mel Blount ’88:
- Fun 2. Friends 3. Lifetime
Tent party senior speech with “Leefy” (Jon Leef) and H.J. Wilcox