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Derby Days, Pizza Rolls and Maple Trees:
Memories of the “Bests” of St. Lawrence

In January, we posted a query on the St. Lawrence Web site: “Tell us the ‘best’ of many different attributes of St. Lawrence.” About one-third of the responses came from students, the rest from alumni ranging in class year from 1954 to 2003. Here’s what they opined:

Favorite Stained Glass Window: A lawyer nominated the Law Window in the chapel, and a student voted for the chapel’s “We have lit a candle…” window.  Various windows in Richardson also won (there is more stained glass in that venerable edifice than most people realize), but the clear victor was the Rose Window in Herring-Cole.

Favorite Residence Hall Room: Rooms in our oldest “dorms,” Dean-Eaton and Sykes, take pride of place among all ages in this category, although younger alumni and some students prefer rooms in the cottages. One in particular is “the one in Sykes with the cool odd-shaped half-round window.”  Other comments: “Loved the built-in closets and drawers in Dean-Eaton”; “Believe it or not, the quad in Carnegie.”

Best Faculty Office: Those in Richardson win in a landslide, with a smattering for a couple in Piskor and one for “Where the geo guys hang!”  They just don’t build them like they used to…. Comment: “I never got invited to many of those.”

Favorite Appleton Arena Seat: The corners, which offer a panorama of the entire ice surface, scored big, with an assist to the student section.  Two respondents preferred standing along the rail. Comments: “Any one that is warm”; “far enough away from the ice that I didn’t get hit” (we presume this person meant “by the puck”).

Favorite Study Site: ODY Library (more precisely its couches, where one can appear to be studying while actually napping) is popular, as is Herring-Cole. Students also like the top floor of the Student Center, near the Thelmo offices. Comments: “A fall day on the Quad”; “The basement of KDS—there was a desk down there and no one would know where I was for hours;” “anyplace quiet.” 

Best View: Older alumni vote for anything with Richardson in it, particularly the scene looking up the brick walk from Park Street; younger alumni and students pick the view toward the Adirondack foothills from the Hannon Room in the Student Center. One alumna voted for the view from the chapel steeple, without divulging how she got up there. Comments: “Of who?” (Pardon us: “whom?”); “MY view”; “The Kip Trail—to walk on the path and look up at the trees reaching into the sky was magical.”

Most Popular Tree: Like the trees themselves, folks were all over campus on this one. Selections: the blazing (at least in fall) sugar maple on the Quad side of Richardson, the Norway spruce in the “top left” corner of the Quad, the mammoth cottonwood behind Rebert. Comments: “The ones that disappeared in the 1998 ice storm”; “All of them in winter, covered with snow and climbing squirrels”; “Not the one that tripped me up outside of Sykes and twisted my ankle.”

Favorite Course: As might be expected, these span the curriculum, with courses in English and government (among our perennially top majors) popular. There was a vote for Archaeology in Kenya, and one for the FYP. We like this “liberal artsy” response: “I enjoyed many of my classes. Five stand out: Victorian Poetry with Prof. DeGraaff (it gave me focus during a rough time); Canadian Studies in France (it proved that I could survive in a foreign environment with no outside help); Russian Literature of Dissent (Yuri Malyutin taught us what was really important in life); and my two senior history classes with Dr. Culpepper (I got to annoy Republicans).” Comment: “Biology 101. I liked it so much I took it again the next year.”

Favorite Trail: Apparently we didn’t have a lot of outdoors types among our respondents. Citees include the Kip Trail, Lampson Falls and the route across the Quad that is said to be created each winter by the mythical “path-packer.”

Most Memorable Textbook: As with “Favorite Course,” no one title was named twice. Random Selection: China Wakes; Sociology 101 text; The Western Heritage of Faith and Reason for Humanities 101 (“you REALLY had to pay attention when reading it”); Ragtime for a history course; Teachings of the Buddha; Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life.
Comment: “I still have my English lit textbook, and still use it.”

Favorite Paper: Students like their FYS papers, those they wrote in language courses, and “Gay Rights and the 2004 Presidential Campaign”; alumni remember papers on Nietzche, Native American religions, working women (because it involved meeting and interviewing local residents) and Shakespeare. Comments: “Can’t remember a single one!”; “An English paper for an upperclass fraternity buddy during Hell Week--it was the only ‘A’ he ever got.” (We’ll assume the statute of limitations has expired…).

Favorite Club: Respondents indicated teams and Greek chapters; it’s clear that many Laurentians identify strongly with these affiliations. Others: Outing Club, Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE), Habitat for Humanity, Laurentian Singers, KSLU, Thelmo.

Memorable Annual Event: Not surprisingly, these were mostly social (no one suggested Finals), ranging from Springfest, Derby Days and Homecoming (the latter two no longer exist to Clarkson-SLU hockey games, Senior Week, the Candlelight Service and Peak Weekend.  Comments: “SAE Pig Roast!!!!!!!”; “Making Ukrainian Easter eggs at Prof. Kreuzer’s house”; “The first nice day of spring.”

Favorite Food: They may not remember what papers they wrote, but Laurentians do recall with fondness what they ate, especially if it wasn’t good for them: Pub cookies, Sinful Brownies, Sergi’s pizza rolls (“best at 1 a.m.”), Connie Barr’s cheeseburgers, Eggs O’Larry.  Relatively more healthy nutrition got a nod with votes for Morning Glory Muffins, the vegan breakfast sandwich and the falafel wrap at Dana. Comment: “Anything that was created after Jack Taylor became food service director”; “dinners at KDS.”

Unforgettable Care Package: What’s a care package without edibles and cash?  Cookies are recalled lovingly, along with birthday cake, a five-dollar bill (which meant something in 1950) and “money from my granny.”  Other notable items: shamrock earrings, sweaters, Play-Doh. Comments: “Pictures my 4-year-old neighbor drew me”; “illegal”; “A box of Ritz crackers--my friends and I loved it; it was just so random of my mom.”

Best Job: Those related to student activities and sports are the most widely recalled. Tutoring is also mentioned often.  Comments: “Taking advantage of my job as a student”; “Scooping ice cream--it mysteriously qualified me for a sous chef summer job at the Lake Placid Resort Hotel!”; “Intro Bio Teaching Assistant—I am a biology teacher now."

Favorite Mentor: Faculty dominate here. Among them: Bob Wells of government, Michael Greenwald of religious studies (“he was motivational, kind and intelligent, and talked to me like I was an emerging adult”), Henry Garrity of modern languages, Alice Pomponio of anthropology, Eve Stoddard of English and global studies, Abye Assefa of sociology, Joe Erlichman of biology.  Student comment: “This place has been supportive of me throughout my career here. It is way too hard to choose.”

Lasting North Country Memory: Many of these, fittingly, blend the campus and the region and revolve around winter (they’re usually good memories, such as “snow crunching under my footsteps on cold winter mornings”); open space, a disappearing commodity in many places; fall colors; and driving through the Adirondacks (again, positive). Comments: “Meeting my future husband on the first day of our first year”; “My first night back at SLU after being away in Vienna--it was like coming back to my real home”; “That feeling you get driving up Route 11 as you see the sign ‘Village of Canton’”; from a student, “I’ve found myself in the North Country and nothing can ever replace that for me.”

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