Golden memories

From left, Jim McNatt ('66), Kathy Hufstedler ('66), Ken Newman ('66) and Ernie Kuehne ('66) were among the Golden Eagles returning for their 50th reunion this fall.Members of the Golden Eagles class of 1966 celebrated their 50th anniversary at Home­coming, catching up and sharing memories of their campus days. Enrollment then was 13,973, exactly 24,000 fewer students than today.

 

My brother Al ('68) and I were both in Kappa Sigma. You know, I don't think Kappa Sigs can dance. During the day, we'd go over to the Union Building and those Lambda Chi Alpha and Theta Chi guys could dance, but you never saw any Kappa Sigs out there. We'd watch and with any luck at all we might pick up three steps.

I was going to school while working 40 to 50 hours a week at my family's automobile business and still trying to have some degree of college life. I'd spend Sundays ordering all the new cars.

But I wasn't the only person having to work. If I remember right, there were very few of us at that time who had any money. We were not a well-financed group! -- Jim McNatt ('66)

 

When I decided to go to North Texas in the fall of 1962, it wasn't because I did a lot of research. It was because my sister, Nancy Newman ('59, '71 M.S., '84 Ph.D.), went there. I became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. There was a pledge class of maybe 13 or 14, and Ernie Kuehne and I were two of them.

Of course, it was during the Vietnam War and everyone was worried about getting drafted. In my sophomore year, I was able to get into the Naval Air Reserve. We ended up flying cargo to Vietnam, but only a week at a time.

I remember having an event in the fraternity house one afternoon, watching a black-and-white television. They interrupted the program and Walter Cronkite came on to tell us the president had been shot. We all got in cars and drove down to Parkland Hospital where he had been taken. It was a somber time.

One summer I worked in the office of President J.C. Matthews operating a “very technical” piece of equipment called a mimeograph machine. I’ve known almost every president since then.

The campus was much smaller then. The One O'Clock Lab Band sticks out in everyone's mind -- not just playing in the Union but playing outside, playing everywhere. My aunt lived across the street from Leon Breeden, the lab band director. He told me I should take a jazz class, and to this day I love jazz. -- Ken Newman ('66)

 

Ken Newman and I pledged Pi Kappa Alpha and were pledge brothers. He has been a great leader at UNT and we've remained friends for over 53 years.

My favorite professor ever was Roscoe Adkins in political science, a brilliant, brilliant teacher. I remember Richard Kottman in history. I called him "Mad Dog" Kottman. He would stand outside the classroom door and tell us, "All you sheep, come in here." But then he'd say, "Not you, Mr. Kuehne. You're smart!"

I also took a music appreciation class with Floyd Graham, and he introduced me to every kind of music -- jazz, opera, all kinds of styles. He was entertaining and it was fun to go to his class. I spent 19 years in education and went on to get my J.D. I know how much harder it is to learn if you don't enjoy the professor.

I was a child of segregation, so to go to one of the earliest colleges to integrate in the South -- it was a time of enlightenment for me personally. There were racial problems in the country, an unpopular war, a draft, and a president killed just down the road. There were tremendous challenges. But there were also tremendous opportunities. -- Ernie Kuehne ('66)

 

Our time as students at North Texas prepared us for the future. Even in our old age we use the skills we learned while students. In my case it was to be a teacher. Students at North Texas today are quite different from when we were there, but they share the same goals and objectives we had -- preparing for the future.

May the graduates of 2016 in 50 years be able to say that North Texas prepared them well. -- Kathy Hufstedler ('66)

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