Members of the class of 1961 were on campus to witness North Texas becoming a university, but the achievement came too late for them to receive diplomas bearing the new name. Recognizing the disappointment among the newest graduates, President J.C. Matthews said in his commencement remarks: “Someday the fact that you were here on University Day will loom much larger in your mind than the fact that the word ‘university’ is not on your diploma. You will feel a bit sorry for those who are only recipients of the goal and not participants in the quest.” Indeed, many still fondly remember that first University Day celebration. Here are a few of their memories from their time on campus.
I lived for three years in Bruce Hall. I met many great girls from all over Texas who lived on my second floor. We all ate in the cafeteria with no refrigerators to store food in our rooms. My roommate and I loved to eat tuna fish sandwiches in our room. As time went on, some had access to cars and we would hear "lake time" shouted out and off we'd go to the lake. I remember the tornado that hit Denton in 1960-61. At that time, I was living in a small garage apartment that swayed in the wind, knocking lamps off of tables. Some of Denton was hit pretty hard and had a lot of damage. I also fondly remember “University Day,” when North Texas became a university.
— Emily Ledbetter Shamaly (’61), Houston
My time at North Texas was great! My sister and I both became a part of the Green Jackets organization at the same time and so enjoyed the activities. The Baptist Student Union was a central focus for me during my four years — the opportunity to express my faith in Christ has had lifelong results. The people were so special and enriched my life, along with teaching me to play a mean game of ping pong. The jazz bands were super, too.
— Eulalie Perdue Hartman (’61), Denver, Colo.
I loved my college experience at North Texas. One of my most memorable experiences was when North Texas won the Missouri Valley Conference and played in the Sun Bowl. Although we lost the game, it was a thrill to be one of the cheerleaders. Earlier that year, we chartered a train that took us to Houston, where we played and defeated the University of Houston. It was always a treat to enter the UB on a cool and drizzly fall morning and enjoy the fragrant aroma of coffee cake baking. Following classes and returning to Kendall Hall again through the UB, there were crowds of kids doing the "Push" to Jimmy Reid music. If that was not enough, there was the Sweat Box upstairs where kids were jammin' to Jimmy or Elvis. Others were playing bridge and smoking or sipping sodas at the UB Snack Bar. The Big Wheel Dance on the UB slab was always an exciting way to start the school year. Soon afterward the football games would begin and school elections would be held. What a sight the campus would become.
— LaQuita Noble McMillan (’61), Amarillo
My memorable experiences from my years at North Texas center around wonderful friends and activities such as summers at Lake Dallas, Coke dates, shopping at Voertman’s Bookstore, dancing the North Texas “Push” at the Sweat Box in the UB, Wednesday night dances at the Golf Course Clubhouse. I managed the Varsity Apartments on Hickory Street and spent many days on the balcony watching the girls go by. If it hadn’t been for Dean Imogene Dickey, Dr. Ben Chappell and Dr. Mary Evelyn Huey and many others, I would not have made it out.
— Tony Goolsby (’61), Dallas
I remember the 1957-58 band trip to perform 11 concerts in seven days through five states. I also remember the Air Force ROTC band trip to Mardi Gras, singing in the Grand Chorus with the Dallas Symphony, but mostly the great friends I made through the Baptist Student Union.
— Richard Shanks (’61), Sulphur Springs
As I lived in an apartment off campus, our meals consisted of coffee and coffee cake at the UB and the noonday $1 meal at the “all you can eat” boarding house (and as growing boys, we could eat a lot). I also remember the great times in the UB, drinking coffee and dancing the “Push” to the music of the lab band.
— Michael M. Greer (’61), Dallas
Finance professor Marten Rooney was late for a class, so Tom Rathheim and I, while waiting, made a wager that every chair in the room (more than 40) had gum stuck to the bottom. The professor walked in as we were verifying the last few chairs and we told him what we were doing. He permitted us to finish our inspection. I won $5 but offered Tommy a chance to win his money back with a wager on whether Dean Curry’s office chair was laden with gum. After class, we approached Dean Curry and advised him of our “research,” and he permitted the inspection of his chair. I lost that wager, but Dean Curry’s chair sported gum after our inspection.
— Nicholas Ricco (’61), Carrollton