Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Break?

It's been that time of year again...time to go on Spring Break and get a little rest and relaxation.

I just returned from a week in South Florida, visiting relatives and seeing some spring training baseball.

It was great fun and the weather was wonderful!

Barry Banker of the VU Class of '73 has already raised the question on this blog about what is the "most exotic" place anyone has gone on spring break trip?

So where was it? Leave your reply below.

And what about while we were at Vanderbilt?

Where did we go in those days for Spring Break?


The Gulf Coast?

Out West?

Just happy to go home and get away from teachers and tests or maybe a terrible roommate for a week?

Again leave your post below and don't forget to start making your plans and contacting your former classmates to get ready for our big "fall break" trip October 24-25 for our 35th Class Reunion celebration back on the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville.

It may not turn out to be very "exotic", Barry, (although I'll bet some pretty strange, even exotic stories of campus days gone by will be told) and I am sure we'll have lots of fun!

So be there!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Vanderbilt!

It was 135 years ago on this date (March 17, 1873) that Vanderbilt University was founded.

It all began with a $1 million endowment contribution from The Commodore, Cornelius Vanderbilt. He made the gift to Methodist Bishop Holland McTyeire as a way of healing the nation's wounds after the recent Civil War.McTyeire had an in. His wife was the cousin of the Commodore's second wife.

It also from this gift that our Vanderbilt Class of '73 got its nickname "The Centennial Class". But since students did not start attending Vanderbilt until 1875, I suspect we got the name because we were the class that graduated in the school's cenntennial year, not be because we were the 100th class to graduate.

What do you remember about Vanderbilt's 100th birthday on March 17, 1973? I remember the schoool invited lots of Vanderbilts to come to campus for a celebration and I believe there were some commemerative trees planted and a special luncheon held, with some selected student leaders invited.

Does anyone remember any kind of general campus celebration or activity? I don't and looking back that seems odd to me. I do remember WRVU did a series of special reports that ran all weekend with interviews with Chancellor Heard, Chancellor-Emeritus Harvey Branscomb, retired Dean of Students Madison Sarratt and other campus dignitaries. But otherwise it seemed like business as usual to me. But I was a town student, so maybe I missed something.

Don't miss your chance to celebrate! Make your plans now to join the Class of 1973 for our 35th Reunion celebration the weekend of
October 24-25, 2008. Look for the link to the Class of '73 web page at the top of the left hand side of this blog for more details about the fun and games we are planning.

Please don't be like the original Commodore, who despite giving the money to found the school that still bears his name, never once set foot on the campus. Also if you have memories or thoughts to share about Vanderbilt's 100th birthday back in 1973 or what Vanderbilt still means to you today, just hit the reply link below and write away.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Before it was March Madness.....

Of all the sports that Vanderbilt competed in while we were at the University, I think basketball generated the most support and excitement(baseball, with our 1973 SEC champions, came a close second).

We didn't win any championships in roundball while the Class of '73 was at Vandy, but the team improved every year and actually won the SEC in 1974, the year after we graduated. Just our luck, huh, and just like the Sarratt Student Center, which opened the fall after we departed. Rats!

What are your memories of Vanderbilt basketball? Is it when Pete Maravich came to Memorial and put on his show (I think that was freshman year)? How about the "oranges game" against UT and Coach Ray Mears with his unicycle show? Remember freshman guard Joe Ford beating UK with two free throws with no time left on the clock to beat the Cats in 1973? Or our last home game that senior year, when we blew Tennessee all the way back to Knoxville (after all the years of frustration against the Orange, now that was sweet)?

Do you remember how we had to get to the gym early to get our tickets to get good seats? Was it Row 9 that was most coveted because you had a wall behind you to put your coat (and rest your back)? How many of you did homework or played cards waiting for the games to begin? Too bad there were no lap tops or cell phones to help pass the time in those days!

1973 was indeed a frustrating year for Vandy basketball. We had a team good enough to win 20 games for the first times in several seasons. We beat UT once and UK twice. Yet we stumbled against other conference foes and finished second in the league.

There was no SEC tournament in those days and only the conference champion could get invited to the NCAA Tournament (that was before it was called The Big Dance or March Madness).

They had started a Commissioner's Tournament for runnerup teams in major conferences. But we didn't get invited to that either because we were hosting the Mid-East Regionals in our own gym that year and the NCAA said if you did that, your team couldn't go to any other post-season tournaments.

So not only did we miss a chance to play our way to the Final Four on our own home court, we were probably the only major college team in basketball that year to win 20 games and stay home. Double rats!!

But what a tournament they played at Memorial Gym that spring! Somehow I got my hands on some tickets (I think I got them through WRVU but I can't remember how or why). Regardless of how I got in, I watched three of the best basketball games I have ever witnessed.

And what coaches! Bobby Knight of Indiana, Al McGuire of Marquette, Joe B. Hall of Kentucky and Lake Kelly of Austin Peay (with his superstar Fly Williams and that unique Austin Peay cheer)!

After UK beat APSU in overtime and Indiana edged Marquette, it was the Wildcats and the Hoosiers at Memorial. Joe B and the Cats came up short again as IU won and went to the Final Four where UCLA, John Wooden and Bill Walton won yet another national championship. The Bruins beat Memphis State in the Finals, a team that Vandy had lost to narrowly earlier in the season in a barn burner of a game at Memorial over Christmas Break.

So for the VU Class of '73, it was that kind of year in basketball, so close and yet so far. But for our seniors like Ray Maddux, Rod Freeman, Steve Turner and Chris Schweer, they laid the groundwork for the SEC Championship that followed the next season.

With both Vandy's men's and women's basketball teams certain to go to the Big Dance this year, lots of excitment lies just ahead. The same is true for our 35th Class Reunion coming up in October. Make your plans to attend now. And share your memories of basketball seasons past by hitting the reply link below and posting your memories.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just In the Nick of Time...

It's Spring Break week at Vanderbilt!

Not surprisingly, it's kinda of quiet on campus as students and faculty are away, either taking some well-deserved R&R or participating in Alternative Spring Break.

That's a volunteer program to help others, which was not around for the Class of '73. But its something I think many of us would have enjoyed participating in (if we'd just had the idea first). :)

Actually the quiet on the Vanderbilt campus is a little deceiving, as one of the biggest stories of the year has broken, something that is sure to be the talk of the campus when everyone returns(rivaled only by the great success of Vandy's men's and women's basketball teams this season).

The selection of Nicholas S. Zeppos to be the eighth Chancellor of Vanderbilt University seems likely to get great marks all around as he moves from his stint as Interim Chancellor to take over the job permanently (effective March 1).

If I may speak for those of us in the Class of '73 who had the chance to meet, talk and listen to the new Chancellor speak during our Reunion Leadership Planning Weekend recently, he is a very engaged, knowledgable and entertaining fellow, and someone you can tell that loves Vanderbilt very deeply.

He's another reason, you need to start making your plans now to come to Nashville for our 35th Reunion the weekend of October 24-25,2008. So if you're planning to come, just sign in here and let us know!