Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where Did You Eat Off-Campus? Volume 4

The Arby's on West End was a pretty good walk or a short drive from campus as you headed in West End towards town.

Believe or not, it's still there over 35 years later if you care to drop by for a Giant Roast Beef, some curly fries and a shake while you are in town for Reunion October 24-25.

When my friends from WRVU used to go there to eat, we called it "pigeon park." In part, that had to do with an obscure comedy album that was sent to the station that we all liked a lot.

The album had a routine on it that featured pigeons (with one of the characters, sounding a little strung out on something, saying over and over: "Here, piggeey, piggeey piggeey." (Hey, stuff like could be very funny when you are 18, 19 or 20 years old). :)

We made the connection to Arby's because....well....lots of time you got to share your food with the pigeons when you went to Arby's in those days. Seating inside was very limited back then and that only left a couple of outside picnic tables and the pigeons (who as I remember, like the Vandetbilt squirrels, were almost trained when it came to dealing with humans).

The same was true with the Hardee's over on 21st Avenue across from the Law School, one of the original fast food places around Vanderbilt (and now for many years a Wendy's location).

Fast food was just beginning to explode as a restaurant concept in the late 1960s and early '70s. The most popular such outlet near Vanderbilt while we were there was the Burger King (or The Whop, as we called it) right across from campus and the Towers. Now it's a small strip mall.

Also near the Towers was the Krystal, a fast food place before that name was invented. It had also had a drive-in out back, so you could cruise in and eat in your car (a concept that now only Sonic keeps famous).

Going further out West End towards Belle Meade, Krispy Kreme was another great place for fast (or junk)food, disguised as a sweet snack. Located just on the other side of Murphy Road, today there's a small gas station and a sushi restaurant there (I-440 pretty much wiped out the rest of the area). There is still a Krispy Kreme near campus. It's over on Elliston Place not far from the Elliston Place Soda Shop, which is still serving great food (the traditional meat and three) after all these years.

Other fast food outlets I can remember near Vandy in those days were the Minnie Pearl Chicken outlet (where the Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel is today) and the Minnie Pearl Roast Beef restaurant across from the Cathedral (and where there is now a new retail development with several restaurants to visit).

In previous postings we've already talked about Rotier's, Tex Ritter's and The Flaming Steer (and there are such profiles yet to come), but what are your memories and stories to tell about eating off campus when you were at Vanderbilt?

Just leave your comments below.

Now just you don't just wish you could pay those prices again...and get a free glass mug to boot!

Monday, September 29, 2008

One of the Greatest Is Gone

Paul Newman, who died last Friday at the age of 83, was one of the greatest actors of this or any generation.

I don't know how highly he would rank on a popularity list of movie stars with our Class of 1973. But given his rugged good looks, the he-man roles he often played, and his gorgeous blue eyes, I would think he would be close to the top of the list (especially with the women in our group).

Paul Newman was a movie star long before we came to Vanderbilt with his hit films in 1950s and '60s including THE LONG HOT SUMMER, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, EXODUS, THE HUSTLER, HUD and COOL HAND LUKE.

During our years at Vanderbilt (1969-1973), he continued his wonderful work on screen with a string of box office successes including BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID (1969), SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION (1971), THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN (1972), and THE STING (1973), which won the Best Picture Oscar that year.

As for his own Oscars, he was nominated ten times, but won only once for Best Actor in THE COLOR OF MONEY in 1986. But he was recognized by the Academy on two other occasions, again in 1986 for his "many and memorable screen performances", and in 1994 with the Jean Hershott Humanitarian Award for his charity work.

Indeed Newman's line of food products, Newman's Own, raised millions of dollars for charity over the years and his second career as a race car driver and owner, also brought him great success and acclaim, including finishing second in 1979 in the 24 Hours At LeMans race.

Newman was also active in politics, so much so, that on the original and infamous enemies list of Presiden Richard Nixon, he was rated number 19.

Courtesy of YouTube, here's a brief appreciation of Paul Newman from the Biography Channel....

So who were your favorite movie stars while you were at Vanderbilt? What were your favorite movies during? And where did you go to see them? Downtown (The Tennessee, the Paramount, the Loews Crescent)? How about the Belle Meade Theatre or the Green Hills Theatre or the Belcourt Cinema nearby? What about the movies shown on campus at the Good Woman or The Different Drummer or in Neely Auditorium, sometimes complete with a little organ music for the silent films?

As always, please leave your thoughts below.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Amazings

They played the last game ever at Shea Stadium today (September 28).

The New York Mets lost it and won't be going to the baseball playoffs when they begin this coming week. But 39 years ago in 1969,the first year a playoff system was introduced into National and American Leagues, the Mets did go.

In fact, they went all the way, winning the most improbable of world championships. The Mets had never finished higher than ninth in the league their previous seven seasons. But in the playoffs, sparked by the pitching of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and a very young Nolan Ryan, plus the hitting and fielding of Tommy Agee, Cleon Jones and MVP Don Clendenon, "The Amazin' Mets" beat, first the Atlanta Braves for the National League crown, then upset the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 1 to win the World Series.

All this occurred just as we were starting our freshman year at Vanderbilt and just a few months after man first landed on the moon. Given what the Mets had accomplished, it was truly a time when anything seemed possible.

Here's how David Brinkley and NBC Nightly News captured the moment the day it happened on October 16,1969....

There was a bit of the flair for the dramatic all four years of the World Series while we were at Vanderbilt. After losing to the Mets, the Baltimore Orioles bounced back the following season in 1970 to win a world championship 4 games to 1 over the first edition of the Big Red Machine from Cincinnati. Brooks Robinson was the MVP, putting on a fielding exhibition at 3rd base during the Series that had never been seen before (or since).

However, despite having four 20-game winners on the staff the next season, a third straight trip to the Series in 1971 did not result in another win for Orioles. Instead, they lost in seven games to the Pittsburgh Pirates and MVP Roberto Clemente, with Clemente playing in his final games before tragically losing his life in a plane crash during the off-season trying to bring relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. 1971 also was the first time any World Series game was played at night under the lights.

1973 saw the beginning of a new dynasty as the Oakland A's defeated another edition of the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati. It would be two more years before the Reds would win any world crowns. This time it was the unexpected slugging of MVP catcher/first baseman Gene Tenace, which sparked Oakland to the first of three championship flags.

OK, how many of us skipped those afternoon classes to catch the World Series on the radio? Or, if you didn't have a TV in your room, found some place to watch it with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek doing the play by play and color analysis? Or how many of us did it like we did in high school, found a way to flick on the radio and catch a quick score to share around the room with our friends while the professor droned on during that 1:00 or 2:00 PM class?

Both the Mets and Yankees (who also did not make the playoffs in the final year of historic Yankee Stadium) will open brand new ball parks in New York City next year, and that is likely to spark a new renaissance for the game (if you can afford the tickets).

Still, for me that period of baseball while we were growing up during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, remains one of the greatest periods ever in the history of the game. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

There's only one October!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Other Shoe Drops

In our last posting, we took a look back at the 1972 Presidential election. We also talked about the relatively minor role the June, 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington played in that contest.

But after the election, the Watergate break-in and its resulting cover-up became an issue that just would not go away. And as more and more revelations were made, there came the first real breaking point for the Nixon White House.

It was the announcement in late April, 1973 of a major shakeup at the top of the administration. It shook the country, and put the President forever on the defensive about Watergate until he resigned his office in disgrace in August, 1974.

When this White House shakeup occurred, involving several top presidential aides and the Attorney General either resigning or being fired, it was about the time we were all wrapping up our classes and looking forward to graduation from Vanderbilt after taking our last final exams as seniors. So I am not sure how much attention any of us paid to this news at the time.

But, again courtesy of the Vanderbilt TV News Archives, here is the way the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite related the story as it was breaking on the evening of April 30, 1973....

It is amazing to note in watching this coverage, how all the CBS journalists we've just seen, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer and Daniel Schorr are still active in their profession some 35 years after they filed these reports.

It is also interesting to note how Watergate still impacts and shapes our politics even today. As for happened in April, 1973, it was far from the end of the story, as Daniel Schorr noted in his report. What would follow would include the special Senate Watergate hearings; the discovery of the White House taping system, another round of high-level firings and a cabinet shakeup when the President got into a dispute with the Special Watergate prosecutor; the 18-minute gap on one of the White House tapes; the vote of the House Judiciary Committee to impeach the President; and on and on, until the discovery of the final "smoking gun" tape that led to his resignation from office.

Only then could we say, as new President Gerald Ford did, that our "long national nightmare is over."

As always, please leave your thoughts or memories below by clicking on the comments link.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nixon Was The One---Again

The current presidential election has captured the public's attention in historic and unprecedented ways this year.

Now the two major candidates, Senator John McCain (the Republican nominee) and Senator Barack Obama (the Democratic nominee), begin a series of three nationally-televised debates between tonight and October 15. The VP candidates (Alaska Governor Sarah Palin-GOP and Senator Joe Biden-Democratic) also have a debate coming up on October 2.

They didn't have debates like this during presidential campaigns when we were at Vanderbilt, and since we won't be blogging come the November electon, I thought this would be a good time to take a look back at the 1972 presidential election, which was held while we were on campus.

Republican President Richard Nixon was the incumbent, and he was easily renominated for another term. Lots of Democrats tried to run against him, with Senator Edmund Muskie (the VP choice of Democrats in 1968) being the front runner early.

But Muskie was accused of crying while making a speech during the New Hampshire primary, and his candidacy quickly faded. Former VP Hubert Humphrey (the Democrats presidential candidate in 1968) made another attempt at winning the nomination, and actually got the most votes overall in the primaries, but he could not translate that into a win at the Democratic convention.

Foreshadowing some of the history that was made in the 2008 election, Representative Shirley Chisolm of New York became the first black woman to run for the nation's highest office, but she never became a serious challenger.

Another candidate who could have been a major contender was former Alabama Governor, George Wallce (who ran as a major third party candidate in 1968). This time Wallace ran as a Democrat and won major primaries in Michigan and Maryland. But, unfortunately for him, that occurred the day after he was critically wounded by assassin Arthur Bremer, while campaigning in a Maryland shopping mall. Wallace did eventually recover, but he was left an invalid and had to drop out of the 1972 race.

That left South Dakota Senator George McGovern as the man to beat for the Democratic nomination. Democrats remained split after their disastrous Chicago convention in 1968. McGovern helped re-write the rules for how the party would choose its nominee, relying more on primaries and less on caucuses or party bosses making the choice.

Because he understood the new process better than his rivals, McGovern had an edge that helped him win the nomination. But it also earned him the enmity of many Democratic leaders, who eventually left the party and supported Nixon. That included Nashville's Mayor at that time, Beverly Briley, who was very active in a group called "Democrats for Nixon."

McGovern also had a disastrous convention. Because of an extended floor fight in choosing the Vice Presidential nominee, McGovern and his VP selection, Missouri Senator Tom Eagleton, did not get to make ther acceptance speeches until after 3:00 AM in the morning local time, well after almost everyone else in the country had turned off their TVs and gone to bed.

Then came the disclosure that Eagleton had undergone shock therapy in the past. After first saying he stood behind Eagleton "100%", McGovern then asked him to step down from the ticket a few weeks later, to be replaced by Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps and a prominent in-law in the Kennedy family.

But Shriver took the slot only after several prominent Democrats turned it down, and the McGovern campaign never recovered from the debacle, especially as the Republican ticket of Nixon and VP Spiro Agnew was successful in portraying the Democrats as "half crazy liberals" according to the write up on Wikipedia about the 1972 election.

President Nixon was also much more popular by the of his first term. American involvement in the War in Vietnam was on its way to an end, with a cease fire being achieved a few months later in January of 1973. The economy had improved and the President had achieved detente with the Soviets and opened up better relations with Communist China through his history-making visit there.

Add it all together and it led to record landslide victory for President Nixon on November 7, 1972.Courtesy of the Vanderbilt TV News Archives, here's how NBC's John Chancellor and David Brinkley reported the results the next day.....

In looking back on the 1972 elections, you may also remember there was a little incident involving a break-in at the Democratic Party National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in June, 1972. Not much came of the incident during the election, although later what became known as the Watergate scandal and its coverup led to President Nixon resigning his post in August, 1974 (Vice President Agnew had already let office in disgrace a few months earlier after pleading no contest in a bribery scandal).

A personal note: I remember on Election Day, 1972 sitting in senior seminar class in political science taught by Dr. Richard Pride. It was our consensus in the class that whatever Watergate was, it would probably not ever amount to anything important or have any long lasting impact on our politics in the future.

We could not have been so completely wrong!

So much for one of my first forays into being a political pundit. :)

So do you have any memories or reflections you'd like to share about the elections of 1972? If so, please leave them by clicking on the comments link below.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our Concerts 1969-1973, Volume II

It was the beginning of our last semester at Vanderbilt(February 9, 1973) when the group "Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks" came to campus to perform two shows in Neely Auditorium.

I did not attend this concert and really didn't know all that much about the band until I started doing some research for this blog posting. But I am sure there are lots of folks out there reading this story who do know quite a bit about this musical group and their appearance on campus, so please leave your thoughts and memories below by clicking on the comments link.

What I learned from an little internet research (including going to the DanHicks.net website) is that Dan Hicks is a singer-songwriter who is "truly an American original." Since the early 1960s Hicks "deftly blended Swing, Jazz, Folk and County music to create the appealing sound he sometime calls "Folk Jazz."

"Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks" came together sometime in the late 1960s. Their first album "Original Recordings", released in 1969, was not a critical success. But, again, according to the information on Dan Hick's web site: "After reorganizing the band and signing with a new record label, the group produced three critically acclaimed albums" Where's the Money", "Striking It Rich", and "Last Train to Hicksville".

At that point, the group really took off in terms of popularity, even appearing on the cover of ROLLING STONE magazine. It was apparently at the height of this acclaim that the band came to Vanderbilt. And look at the prices on the concert ticket from the photo above: $3 or free with a VU ID!

Our classmates, Steve Greil and Aubrey Hornsby, always did have the right touch to bring some of the best entertainers to Vandy during our years there, and the price was right too (especially if you had your ID)!

As for "Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks", later that year in 1973, the group disbanded due to "pressures both internal and external" to the band. Wikipedia says Dan Hicks told an interviewer in 1974: "I didn't want to be a bandleader any more. It was a load and a load I didn't want."

The group did later re-unite in 1991 and recorded an hour-long performance for "The Austin City Limits" program on PBS. It aired during the 1992 TV season, and here, thanks to YouTube, is one of the featured songs from that TV concert, ""I Scare Myself":

There are other groups and entertainers who came to campus from 1969to 1973 which we will be featuring here on our class blog in the weeks ahead leading up to our 35th Class Reunion (October 24-25).

As always, I am sure the list I am working from is not complete, so your suggestions and memories of these concerts and campus appearances are also welcome. Heck, you can even leave me information about concerts you saw off-campus while you were in school here. Just leave your information below in the comments section.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


One thing that changed quite radically during the four years we were at Vanderbilt was the status of women on campus.

According to a recent book on the history of Vanderbilt, CHANCELLORS, COMMODORES & COEDs, written by Bill Carey, it was in the spring of 1969 (right before we arrived that fall) that some of the first significant changes began to be made:

"Under pressure from students, female and male, the Heard administration does away with mandatory midnight curfews for sophomore, junior and senior women...At the same time, the administration does away with the rules that prohibit women from wearing pants and shorts on campus."

Yes, you read that correctly. Prior to 1969, Vanderbilt coeds were not allowed to wear pants or shorts on campus, believe it or not.

But even more major changes were on the way with parietal visitations being allowed in all dorms the following year (including, after we fought for it) opposite-sex visitation, even in the freshman dorms (except for Stapleton Hall).

Then came a number of co-ed dorms being opened. So I believe after all this, any remaining curfews in the frosh living quarters also had gone the way of the dodo bird.

In 1972, change continued in a even more substantial and far-reaching ways. Again, quoting from Bill Carey's book:

"Under pressure from students and faculty, the Board of Trust discards a policy that limits female enrollment to one-third of the student body, allowing the number of women in the school to rise to about half by 1980."

It was also during this time that the federal Title IX law was passed and Vanderbilt very slowly began to allow women equal access to the school athletic facilities and programs. Ultimately, it led to a women's athletics program at Vanderbilt (particularly in basketball) that is one of the best in the country.

But just getting equal access to facilities was a big struggle at first. Bill Carey tells one rather humorous story about it. I think this may have occurred while we were still on campus, but it might have been a few years later.

"Female students gain access to indoor sports facilities in McGugin Center after employing some unusual protest methods. At one point, students Widget Judd and Mae Go shock the campus by climbing into the sauna at McGugin nude, to the pleasant surprise of a student named Tom Davis, who was already sitting in it. "After some initial embarrassment and surprise, we all talked very normally about things in general," Davis says. A few days later, the athletic department announces a policy under which women can use the sauna for two hours a day, two night a week."

Then there were "the collective senior women" of the Class of 1973: Not only did they finish second in student balloting for homecoming queen in 1972, in the spring of 1973 they won the prestigious "Lady of Bracelet" Award given each year (in those days)to the most outstanding Vanderbilt senior co-ed. In his book, Carey described the effort as "a form of mass protest against all things sexist and elitist."

Finally, there is the photo above of a class taught by Susan Wiltshire. For the 1972-73 school term (our senior year), the Vanderbilt College of Arts & Science adopted a regular course in women's studies for the first time. It was called Women's Studies 150. This is a picture of that historic class and Professor Wiltshire, who went on to continue a very distinguished career at Vanderbilt.

According our senior yearbook, THE 1973 CENTENNIAL COMMODORE: "The class was an interdisciplinary course supervised by a committee of faculty members from several departments." It's goal was "exploring the role and images of women from ancient to modern times."

Did anyone out there take this course? What was it like? Did you know you were part of history in terms of academic classes at Vanderbilt? Please leave your memories and comments below.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Excitement Continues!

In the wake of the Vanderbilt football team's 4-0 start and its first national ranking in nearly a quarter century, the excitement continues to build on campus, in Nashville, and indeed throughout the Commodore Nation!

The next game against nationally-ranked and SEC West rival Auburn has been picked for national telecast by ESPN beginning at 5:00 PM (Central Time) on Saturday, October 4. This will mark the third time this season that the Commodores have appeared on one of the ESPN channels, having been on ESPNU for its opening season victory on the road at Miami of Ohio, and then one week later (another Thursday night game) on ESPN 2, a home-season opening victory (two in a row now actually) over Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks at Vanderbilt Stadium.

While Vanderbilt fans have learned over the years not to look too far ahead, it should noted the next home game after Auburn is Saturday afternoon, 2:00 PM, October 25 versus Duke. That's Homecoming and our Class of '73 35th Reunion Weekend.

And if things go well in our next few games (Auburn, Mississippi State, Georgia) or even if we lose a game or two, this contest against the Blue Devils could be a game...dare I say it...with bowl implications (you need at least six victories to to be bowl-eligible).

So what more reason do you need to come back to campus for Reunion? Maybe it can also help you forget some of those frustrating football memories from when we were students at Vanderbilt.

In my last posting, we talked about the ups and downs of the team our freshman year in 1969. Now let's look back at the teams from 1970 to 1972:



The 1970 season began with two impressive home victories over UTC
(39-6) and The Citadel (52-0). But looks can be deceiving as the Dores went on the road and lost rather easily to Mississippi State 20-6 at a neutral field site at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Actually what I remember best about that game was all the rain we had to endure (and it got cold and windy after that cold front went through) along with all those cowbells the State fans brought to game and rang all night.

A close loss at home to North Carolina followed (10-7) and as the Black & Gold dropped 6 consecutive games, winning only over UK (18-17) and Tampa (36-28) to close out another season with 4 victories. We had one more loss for the year than 1969 (7), because for the first time college team got to play 11 games, not 10. Steve Burger was the team's leading rusher that year.

Some other highlights of the year included the final season for a brillant Vanderbilt wide receiver, Curt Chesley. Almost four decades later, he is still in the Vanderbilt Top Ten in terms of career catches with 125. That includes two games the season before in 1969 when he rolled up 128 yards receiving against Army and 108 yards versus Georgia. All of this during a time in college football when offensive firepower was like a small pop gun compared to today's high powered attacks.

Some other interesting highlights in that 1970 season, a 71-yard kickoff return by Jeff Peeples against Alabama and 81-yard punt return for a TD by Ken Stone. Stone was defensive back, who after he left Vanderbilt became a very valuable player in the NFL for several years with Buffalo, Washington, Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

Then there was a halfback by the name of Mack Brown. He gained 158 yards in our win over Tampa. But unfortunately, Watson's brother soon transferred to Florida State to finish his college football playing career. He then began a very successful head coaching career that saw him win the national championship with Texas a couple of years ago.

One other home game of note that year versus Ole Miss and Archie Manning. The Rebels won 16-26, in one of the hardest rain storms I have ever seen at Dudley Field, producing near-flood conditions, as water poured off "our beautiful Tartan Turf." Finally, if you read the comments from the last post, you'll find a story by Steve Womack from that game involving the rain and Mr. Commodore that we still laugh about today 38 years later.

Post-season honors in 1970 included punter Steve Smith who was named first-team All-SEC, while tight end Karl Weiss played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Coaches All-American game. Tight End Jim Cunningham, fullback Bill Young, and defensive halfback John Burns were named Academic All-SEC.



When the season began with a narrow 20-19 victory over Chattanooga and was followed by a 0-0 home field tie with Louisville, prospects for a winning season looked pretty bleak right away.

But then the Dores rebounded with an astounding 49-19 rout of Mississippi State in Starkville with Doug Nettles returning an interception 28 yards for a TD and Walter Overton taking back a punt for 57 yards and a touchdown. But then came a close loss (23-27) at Virginia, as the team dropped four straight games, including a 42-0 romp by Alabama and All-American running back Johnny Musso here in Nashville. It all added up to another 4 win season with the other Vandy victories coming against Tulane and Tampa.

It was year of ups and down. The 0-0 tie with Louisville was such an offensive bust for both teams that that game still holds the school record for most combined punts (16). Another low point came in losing the UK game 14-7 on an intercepted pass return as the clock ran out (and with Vandy receivers running open down field behind the UK defense).

But there were some highlights: Doug Nettles returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD versus UVA and running back Jamie O'Rourke began a stellar Vanderbilt career, rushing for more than 100 yards three times that season (UK, Tulane, Tampe). That included gaining 187 yards on 35 carries versus the Green Wave in New Orleans. That number of carries in a game is still a school record.

And let me correct my last post, it was in 1970 that Jeff Peeples set the single season school record for most kickoff returns in a game with 7 against Ole Miss and most for season with 33. It had to be in 1970. Peeples, a Class of '73 member was a freshman in 1969 and was not eligible to play in those days. My bad.

Post-season honors in 1971 included defensive end and Class of '73 member George Abernathy and defensive back Ken Stone being named to the All-SEC team.

One last near-highlight I will always remember about the 1971 team is when it held powerful and nationally-ranked Tennessee in check for three quarters in Knoxville, even leading the contest 7-0 going into the final period before losing 19-7. That Vanderbilt team left it all on the field that day.

McGill Hall celebrates Homecoming 1972



The season got off to a tough start before the first game was even played, as star running back Jamie O'Rourke blew out both his knees and was out for the season.

But the team rallied to win its first game fairly handily against Chattanooga 24-7 with both Walter Overton and Paul Brogdon rushing for more than 100 yards in the contest. With O'Rourke on the sideline, young Lonnie Sadler emerged at the team's leading rusher. But Vandy would win just two other games that season (back to back home victories over Virginia and VMI)and closed with six straight losses and just 3 victories total. Coach Bill Pace was dismissed at the end of the season to be replaced by young Steve Sloan. Sloan using a lot of the talent recruited by Pace, posted a 5-6 record the next year, nearly beating UT in Knoxville and then a 7-3-2 record in 1974 to take the team to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

Just like it was for the Sarratt Student Center, we graduated a couple of years too soon to enjoy the Promised Land as students.

1972 post-season honors included guard L.T. Southall being named to the All-SEC team, and Southall joining split end Doug Martin on the All-SEC Academic team. Ken Stone, a Class of '73 member played in both the East-West All Star Shrine Game and the Canadian American Bowl in the post-season.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Photo courtesy of John Russell, Vanderbilt University

For the first time in 24 seasons (1984), the Vanderbilt University football team is nationally ranked, coming in at Number 21 in the Associated Press poll and Number 25 in the USA TODAY balloting.

While the team's 4-0 start continues to draw national interest, Commodore fans likely remain a bit leery, given the Dores' past history, and with the meat of the SEC schedule just now coming up, beginning with the game against Auburn here in Nashville on October 4.

The off-week coming up for Saturday, September 27 gives the team a much-needed opportunity to heal up from several injuries and for fans to get pumped up for the rest of the season.

It also gives us a chance here at the Centennial Class blog to remember some of the highs and lows of our football experience while we were on campus. Let's start with our freshman year:


1. Vanderbilt 14-Alabama 10: We beat Bear Bryant for what I think is the only time during his career at Bama. Quaterbacks Watson Brown and "West End" Denny Painter are named National Offensive Players of the Week. Still the sweetest game of all.

2. Vanderbilt 42-UK 6: Watson Brown takes back a punt return 62 yards for a TD. Before injuries took their toll, Watson Brown was destined to be one of the greatest players ever in VU football history (and maybe in VU baseball history too before injuries intervened).

3. Vanderbilt 63-Davidson 8: The competition wasn't much, but this contest still holds the Vanderbilt single game record for most first downs in a game (40) and most first downs rushing (27). Watson Brown rolled for 115 yards, while halfback Doug Mathews gained 158 yards and returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown. The defense stepped up too, allowing Davidson just 16 rushes in the game, which is still a school record almost 40 years later.

4.Vanderbilt 26-Tulane 23: Christie Hauck, later of Christie's Cookies fame, returns a fumble(it had to be caught in the air in those days) 70 yards for a touchdown. Senior Doug Mathews, converted to running back after spending all of his earlier VU career at defensive back, rushes for 214 yards against the Green Wave. Mathews, a former Vandy and UT assistant coach, is now a prominent radio sports talk host in Nashville and a big UT supporter.

5.A few other miscellaneous records were set that year:

A. Doug Mathews led the SEC in rushing in 1969 with 849 yards, still the third highest total ever by a senior running back at VU.

B. Watson Brown set a school record that still stands for highest pass completion percentage for a season at 62.2% (69 of 111 passes for 896 yards).

6. Two well-remembered Vanderbilt players completed their careers in 1969. Bob Asher, an consensus first-team, All-American and All-SEC offensive tackle, played in the 1970 Senior Bowl and was taken in the second round of the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys where he played during the 1970 season. Asher also played for the Chicago Bears in 1972.

No other Vanderbilt player on that 1969 team earned any post-season honors, believe it or not. Nevertheless, two players, defensive end Pat Toomay and defensive back Neil Smith were invited to play in the Blue-Gray Classic. Toomay was also drafted by the Dallas Cowboys where he began a decade-long career in the NFL, also playing for the Buffalo Bills, the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Oakland Raiders. He wrote a best-selling book on life with the Cowboys and playing in the NFL called THE CRUNCH.

7. This VU squad had two members on All-SEC academic team, Dave Strong, wingback and Noel Stahl, a defensive end.


1. Given all the positives above, it may be a little hard to believe this 1969 VU team finished only 4-6. But it may be easier to understand if you look at some other still standing school records set that season: Most kickoff returns in season by an individual, Jeff Peeples, 33 returns for 545 yards and a 19.9 yard average. And most kickoff returns in a game 8 by Doug Mathews against Florida(a record that has been matched unfortunately a few times since).

2. It was likely the trio of early season losses to Michigan, Army and North Carolina put this team in a hole it couldn't quite dig out of the rest of the season, despite the historic upset of Alabama and some of the other impressive achievements of this group. Big losses (by double digits or more) to Georgia, Florida and Tennessee didn't help either.

More in our next posting when we look back at the achievements and challenges of Vanderbilt football during the other years (1970-1972)we were students on campus. If you have any thoughts or memories to share about Vanderbilt football, please leave them below.

Go Vandy! Beat Auburn! And don't forget the Duke game for Homecoming and our Reunion Weekend October 24-25!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Breaking Through?

Photo courtesy of John Russell, Vanderbilt University

For the only the fourth time in our lifetime (roughly the last 58 years), a Vanderbilt football team has started its season 4-0(1950, 1984, 2005, 2008). But for a program that has not enjoyed a winning record since 1982, we all know nobody should be counting bowl bids just yet.

However, this group of Commodores with the way they bounce back from gridiron misfortune and how they seem to get stronger and play better in the second half of their games, there does seems to be a justifiable reason for optimism (and enough potentially winnable games left on the schedule to achieve that goal). :)

For example, there was the play of safety Ryan Hamilton in Vanderbilt's latest victory (23-17) over Ole Miss. The junior may have turned in one of the greatest individual defensive performances in Vanderbilt history, picking off a school record-tying three interceptions(one of which he returned for 79 yards for a touchdown, another he returned 24 yards to set up an important field down, and the final one he garnered to end the game).

And that's not all, Hamilton also made several key defensive stops, including one tackle to cap a goal line stand inside the one-yard line in the second half.

So maybe for the first time since Reunion has been moved to coincide with Homecoming, it's possible the football game (versus Duke on Saturday, October 25) could be one of the major draws and attractions of the weekend. Duke is also one of those winnable games toward becoming bowl-eligible (6 wins) and towards at least having a non-losing, if not a winning season, for the first time since my youngster daughter was three months old.

Looking back on Vanderbilt football during our time on campus (the 1969-1972 seasons), I am struck not by the losing records we had all four years, but the inconsistency and frequent frustration of that period. I think you can see it in the photo above of Chancellor Heard gamely holding on, while the paying customers depart early from another losing game at Dudley Field.

There was great optimism about football when we came to school. New coach Bill Pace had posted a winning season (5-4-1) in 1968. But 1969 began with three straight losses before we shocked the football world and Coach Bear Bryant, by beating his nationally-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 14-10, before a stunned-but-very-happy Parents Weekend crowd here in Nashville.

However, the momentum from that historic moment in our football history could not be sustained, as the Dores won just three more games the rest of the year to finish 4-6.

1970 again brought great expectations and things got off to a great start as Vanderbilt routed UTC and The Citadel in its first two games. But then came a trip to Memphis to play Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl, which resulted in disappointing 20-6 setback. That began a six-game losing streak, dooming the team to another 4 win season.

The 1971 season began ominously with a narrow 20-19 win over UTC and a 0-0 tie with Lousville, a game that still holds single-game school records for offensive futility by both teams. But then came a 49-19 rout of Mississippi State in Starkville, and hopes soared again, only to be crushed by Bear Bryant and his Tide with a 42-0 romp over Vandy here in Nashville. The rest of the season had only the highlights of a win in New Orleans over Tulane and a 10-7 victory over Tampa. It all added up to another 4-6-1 finish.

Senior year, 1972, there was a feeling, even before the season began, that Coach Pace was on thin ice to keep his job. Sure enough, things got bad early with all-star running back Jamie O'Rourke blowing out both his knees and missing the season. When the team struggled home with just a 3-8 record (wins over UTC, Virginia and William & Mary) and concluded the year with a six-game losing streak, it was clear Coach Pace was gone. He was replaced by a young Steve Sloan (who hired Bill Parcells as one of this assistants).

After we left school, Sloan went on to lead Vanderbilt to an all-too-brief, two-year period of football success (including a 7-3-2 record in 1974 and a Peach Bowl berth). Ironcally, Sloan achieved much of his success relying heavily on the talent recruited and left behind by Coach Pace.

Frustrating. In my next posting, I will take another look back at the achievements and disappointments of our football years at Vanderbilt. As always, please feel free to leave your own thoughts and memories below.

Go Vanderbilt!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our Concerts 1969-1973

Along with promoting the "History of Motown" presentation by Vice Chancellor David Williams as a part of our upcoming (October 24-25) 35th Centennial Class Reunion weekend, I thought another way to get everyone in the mood for our big get-together was to look back at the many special groups we had come to campus to entertain us over our four years at Vanderbilt.

And since Reunion weekend is now also Homecoming, what better place to start our look back than with our first Vanderbilt Homecoming as students in the fall of 1969.

Our Homecoming concert was given by one of the most popular bands around at that time, The Association.

Here they are in a live concert presentation I found on YouTube performing one of their biggest hits, "Cherish".....

I found the shots of the crowd to be particularly fun to watch.
Don't you just love the fashions back in those days and how young everyone looks? And what about the the folks using that reel-to-reel tape recorder or the tiny flash camera at the end?

Hearing "Cherish" also brought back memories of one of Nashville's top disc jockeys at the time, Scott Shannon of WMAK (1300 AM),who closed out his broadcast every night with that song.

Good times, man, good times. What are your memories of The Association concert? Did you have a date or just go with a group of friends? Please leave your thoughts and memories below?

I have a list of other concerts we enjoyed while at Vanderbilt, so I plan to continue our musical tour down memory lane with still more postings like this between now and Reunion.

If you want to be sure to see and hear a certain group(my concert list is probably not complete), drop me a note at the end of this posting to let me know. That includes mentioning any particular song you'd like to see featured in the posting. I will look it up and if I can find it on YouTube or someplace else, I will add it to this blog.

Man, this makes me feel a little like the old days working as a DJ at WRVU, taking telephone requests and dedications from listeners. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting Ready For Reunion & For Motown

Don't forget one of the can't miss parts of our 35th Reunion Weekend is our class-sponsored educational event "The History of Motown" by Vice Chancellor David Willams Friday afternoon, October 24,at 4:00 PM in the Board of Trust Room in the new Student Life Center right across from Memorial Gym.

Over the next few weeks, we will be reminding you again and posting some great Motown videos to refresh your memories of that music and get you in the mood for Reunion weekend.Like this great oldie, My Girl.....

Putting It in Perspective

It's been bad week for everyone in terms of the economy. We are seeing things happen in the financial markets and with long-standing financial institutions which resemble more the events of October 1929, not September, 2008.

It's been particularly brutal on Wall Street with the Dow Jones daily average losing close to 900 points total on two different days this week, before rallying more than 410 points today (Thursday) to close at 11,019.

Right now, no one knows for sure what the future, or even tommorrow or next week holds for the economy and the markets. But it is interesting to look at these things from the perspective of our years at Vanderbilt from 1969 to 1973 (even though I am fairly sure very few, if any of us, paid much attention to the stock market during these years...OK, maybe Bill Spitz). :)

If you were paying attention to stocks, here's what you would have seen:

The Dow Jones Averages:

1969 High 952 Low 769

1970 High842 Low 699

1971 High 950 Low 790

1972 High 1036 Low 921

1973 High 1051 Low 788

Notice first, how very much lower the range of stock averages were then than they are today (trading in a range of 769 for a low to 1051 for a high in those days, compared stocks averages above 11,000to 12,000 in recent years).

Clearly what we've told for years has been true (at least over the last 39 years): investing for the long term does pay off as the economy grows and expands.

Also notice that in our first two years at Vanderbilt, stocks dipped in average, closing in 1970 below what the market had done in 1969 for both highs and lows. And while the decline in raw numbers looks almost insignificant today, remember what a smaller range of overall stock averages were in play back then, and you can see that perhaps the 110 point differances in high water marks for stocks between 1969 and 1970 was quite significant to the overall value of stocks (and if you'll recall those years were a somewhat difficult time economically).

Also notice how stocks rebounded so well in 1972 and 1973, with highs above 1,0000 (for the first time in history I believe) and even the stock lows in those years were better than all but one other year during that period.

Now none of this is meant to be an endorsement or a condemnation of any one's ideas about how (or how not) to reform or change Wall Street in the wake of its current difficulties. But maybe it will help me feel a little better (and have a little hope for the future) the next time I get my 401K statement. :)

Don't forget to take a chance and enter the Vandy trivia quiz a few blog postings below. We still have two nice prizes from the Vanderbilt Reunion Office left to give away.

And to make it easier than an open book exam, the correct answers are listed in Steve Womack's winning entry which you can find in the reply area of the quiz posting. And that's where you can leave your correct answers as well.

Oh, if some of my Vanderbilt exams had just been this easy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Selling the Essentials---TV News Commercials in the Summer 1969

About the time our Centennial Class was getting ready to come to Vanderbilt for the first time in the late summer of 1969, the ads on the nightly TV news were selling the essentials.

Unlike today, when these shows are populated with ads flacking all manner of prescription drugs, in the late '60s it was all about soap, detergent and toothpaste, the kind of things we all needed to bring with us to campus, especially that toothpaste that would give us all "sex appeal", which was a rather risque thing to talk about on TV in those days.

So courtesy of the Vanderbilt TV News Archives, take a trip back to TV Land, commercial style, from August, 1969. Also see if you recognize the young blonde in the last ad. She went on to be quite a TV and movie star and she has roots here in Tennessee.....

Did you recognize Cybill Sheperd? She was born in Memphis (February 18, 1950) and came to her first brush with fame by being named "Miss Teenage Memphis" in 1966 and then "Model of the Year" in 1968. According to her biography on Wikipedia: "She quickly made a name for herself as a curvy, "real woman", which was a departure from the trend at the time of Twiggy-type waifs."

It was not her 1969 TV "Ultra Brite" ad that led to her next break. It was her fashion modeling and appearance on the cover of GLAMOUR magazine in 1970 that got film director Peter Bogdanovich to cast her in his next movie: THE LAST PICTURE SHOW.

From there it was on to other notable films in the next few years such as THE HEARTBREAK KID, DAISY MILLER and TAXI DRIVER. Later she branched into television, winning acclaim for her work in the MOONLIGHTING comedy series with Bruce Willis and for another series she starred in called CYBIL.

And to think on the national scene it all began with that "sex appeal" toothpaste ad.

Don't forget you have a chance to stand out among your former VU classmates. All you have to do is scroll down and correctly answer the trivia questions in the posting below. My good friend and former WRVU Station Manager Steve Womack has won the first prize, which is a nice Vanderbilt mug. And there are two other prizes up for grabs courtesy of the Vanderbilt Reunion Office, so put in your answers/guesses today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where Did You Eat Off Campus, Volume 3?

OK, even though it was just a few blocks off campus headed downtown, I can't say I ever remember eating at the Flaming Steer Restaurant on West End.

I do remember it had a big, tall lighted sign out front that looked a lot like...well, what else...a flaming steer. But I don't remember ever going inside to eat.

Did you ever go there? Have any fond memories or food nightmares to share from the experience? Please leave your comments and thoughts below.

The owners must have attracted some Vandy students to dine with them. After all, as you can see above, they advertised in THE COMMODORE Yearbook. Or maybe they just felt sorry for whatever student came around trying to sell them an ad. :)

I think the Flaming Steer may have been a little ahead of its time (before chain restaurants like Bonanza or other steakhouses made steak a popular and affordable menu item for any budget when you went out to eat).

I wonder if it was like Chambers Restaurant on the other side of campus, near the Oxford House and just across the street from the Peabody campus?

Now I do remember Chambers. Long before I came to Vanderbilt, my dad took me there for my first official steak dinner on my birthday when I turned 12. Anyway, it was quite a big deal for me at the time, although I remember the steak itself was more than a little tough(more like tasty shoe leather than a tender piece of meat).

But when you are taking another big step in your life towards becoming a man (and for me, having your first steak dinner with your dad was one of those),it was more the event itself and its symbolism that mattered, not the steak sauce or whether it was a ribeye or a t-bone (sorry, filet was still too expensive).

Today, Chambers has long since been gobbled up by the Vanderbilt Medical Center, while the Flaming Steer has also headed for the last roundup. In fact, its location on West End has housed a Mrs. Winner's Fried Chicken restaurant for several years now.

More on the places around Vanderbilt where we went to eat in some upcoming postings. We are now here everyday through Reunion Weekend, October 24-25, trying to get your memories refreshed and your mind in the mood for a great time as the Centennial Class returns to Vanderbilt for our 35th Class Reunion.

By the way, we are still looking for winners in the VU trivia contest. The questions are contained in the posting right below. Many of the answers can also be found in earlier postings on this site, including the name of the first Vandy dorm to go co-ed (to help someone who missed that question).

Monday, September 15, 2008

So You Think You Know Vandy 1969-1973?

Welcome to your Vanderbilt Class of '73 Reunion blog!

This is your place to get "in the mood" to come back for our 35th Reunion October 24-25 as the VU Centennial Class returns to campus once more.

You can get ready for Reunion by coming here to interact with your Vandy classmates and think back on the days we were all together on West End here in Nashville.

There are almost 40 blog postings already on this site (which started up back in February). Hopefully they'll help you remember those special times in the late 1960s and early '70s.

And we plan a new posting here at least once a day, everyday, from now all the way to Reunion weekend itself. So come back often.

But whether this is your first visit or you've already been here several times, how about a chance to win some prizes from the Vanderbilt Reunion Office? (and when's the last time you got anything free from the University?) :)

All you have to do is be one of the first three class members to correctly answer the Vandy trivia questions below. Please submit your answers by hitting the comments link at the end of this post (and leave us some contact information like your name and e-mail address, so we can get back in touch if you are a winner).

Here's the quiz (It's an open book test but Honor Code still applies) :)

1.What Vanderbilt assistant football coach has gone on to coach and win in the Super Bowl?

A. Bobby Proctor
B. Alexander Heard
C. Watson Brown
D. Bill Parcells

2. The first co-ed dorm at Vanderbilt was?

A. Stapleton Hall
B. Landon House
C. McGill Hall
D. Oxford House

3. If you had long hair you could not eat at what area restaurant?

A. Loveless
B. Rotier's
C. Tex Ritter's
D. Pancake Pantry

4. Which of the following rock groups were the featured performers at Homecoming our freshman year?

A. The Grateful Dead
B. Sha-Na-Na
C. The Association
D. Bread

I believe many of you have seen most, if not all, of these questions before. In fact, we asked them 20 years ago when we were preparing for our 15th Reunion in 1988.

We sent out a special Blue Book mailing with the questions. The answers were contained in a special HUSTLER we sent out later.

So rummage through your memories and maybe your attic to find the correct answers. Then submit them below and you could be a winner!

Then remember to come back here often as we all get ready for Reunion '08!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Study Up On Those Yearbooks...You Don't Want to Miss This.....

Very soon (Monday, September 15) all members of the Class of 1973 will be receiving a special blast fax e-mail from the Alumni Office about our upcoming Reunion (October 24-25).

Of course, the e-mail will once again encourage you to sign up to come back to campus for our special weekend. By the way, we are ahead of some previous classes (i.e.,the Class of 1972), in our projected attendance.

58 classmates and their guests have already registered to attend the Friday night party with another 74 folks saying they plan to come but haven't registered yet. We hope to have at least 200 classmates and guests total, so there's still plenty of time and space if you want to "come on down" (check out the Class of '73 Reunion web site for the full list of those who have registered or say they plan to attend).

The coming blast fax will also give you an opportunity (believe it or not) to win some free prizes from Vanderbilt. All you have to do is be among the first three folks to come here to our Class Blog Site on September 15 and provide the correct answers to a Class of1973 Vanderbilt trivia contest.

The questions are really not that hard. In fact, we asked several of them 20 years ago to promote our 15th Reunion. That's when we sent out a special Blue Book exam with the questions, and later provided the answers in our own Reunion HUSTLER (with apologizes even today to Neil Skene, the real editor of the HUSTLER our senior year). :)

Now through the wonders of the Internet, we can do this quiz on line here at the blog site and provide some great prizes to those who get the answers right (at least the first three folks who do).

So study up on those COMMODORE annuals and try and find that 15th Reunion Blue Book exam or the Reunion HUSTLER we sent you back in 1988 (I know, yeah, right. I do still have my copies, but then I am wierd like that).

So see you back here Monday as we pick up the pace on this blog. We want to get everyone in the mood and excited about our Reunion, which is just a little over 6 weeks away.

We will begin at least daily postings here, including more photos, stories, memories, TV news stories and TV ads, all from that special period we spent together at Vanderbilt from 1969 to 1973.

So bookmark this site or set up an alert from here to your computer to let you know everytime we have something new posted. For those of you coming to the site for the first time, welcome and please feel free to review all the previous posts (over 30 of them) that date back to when this blog first began back in late February.

And to everybody who comes here, please let me know what you think about what you read and see and hear on this site. Also tell me what memories you have or stories or pictures you'd like to share...all by clicking on the comments link at the bottom of each blog posting.

If you do have photos, I would happy to get them from you and post them on the blog for everyone to enjoy. The easiest way to do that is to scan them and e-mail them to me (pat.nolan@dvl.com). Or we can work out a way to have them mailed to me (or locally in Nashville I can pick them up). I promise to return any photos after they are scanned so we can place them on the site.


But We Had Fun Anyway....

We've talked several times on this blog about the fact that the Class of 1973 did not get to enjoy its own Student Center. In fact, the Sarratt Center opened in the fall of 1973 just a few months after we graduated (May 25)and left campus.

We also didn't get to enjoy some of the other more modern and luxurious campus facilities of today, such as the Student Rec Center or The Commons on the Peabody Campus (now called the south campus, by the way), where all the freshmen students live.

But as you can see from the photos above, we always managed to find a way to amuse ourselves!

When the construction of the Sarratt Center closed off our major on-campus green space for recreation on Alumni Lawn, we used the fence itself to have some fun as these coeds outside their dorm (is that Tolman or Cole?) demonstrate.

I hope nobody pulled a muscle doing this for the photo. :)

From the other picture above you can see we also had a banner/ fence painting contest to perhaps allow some kind of creative outlet for our inability to use Alumni Lawn, as well as the frustration of having to walk all the way around the fence instead of cutting across the Lawn to get to class more quickly.

For obvious reasons, some of the more "creative" signs or slogans we used in those days about the situation we were enduring (i.e., "Pluck the Pence", etc.) are not included, living on only in our memories. So please feel free to share your thoughts and memories below.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another Word From Our Former Sponsors

As we continue to look back on our years at Vanderbilt, sometimes the change from those days to now can be quite striking.

And some of that change began while we were still on campus....

The commercial below was something you saw everday on TV back in the late 1960s and the very early 1970s. But cigarette ads were banned from the airways while we were in school at Vanderbilt.

In April,1970 Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act which banned both TV and radio ads for cigarettes as of January 2, 1971.

It is interesting how so many of the cigarette ad concepts from those days ("The Marlboro Man", "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should", "Outstanding, and they are mild") continue to live in our pop culture even today.

But this ad for the "extra long" Benson & Hedges cigarettes (with its catchy jingle) was already on its way to being a thing of the past when it aired on the Evening News on July 21, 1969....

Once again, we thank the Vanderbilt New Archives for making these TV ads and news clips available. By the way, if you are wondering, the last national TV ad for a cigarette was for the Virginia Slims brand. It aired at 11:59 PM on January 1, 1970 during a network break for THE TONIGHT SHOW on NBC.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It Was Quite A Year

As the University settles into another academic year, it's quite interesting to take a look back at our freshman year at Vanderbilt in the fall of 1969.

While lots of things have clearly changed in 35 years. For example, check out tuition. Or check out the new Commons where all the freshman now live on the old Peabody campus and compare the living quarters there to what we had in Kissam and Branscomb.

Nevertheless, looking back through the headlines of THE HUSTLER, you can see a lot of things occurred our first year that began traditions that still endure today:

September 12, 1969: Quadrangles over overflow with 1,195 freshman

We were the largest freshman class to ever come to Vanderbilt up until that time. To say the least, the University wasn't fully prepared, with some of us sleeping four people to a lounge. And those areas really weren't designed for anybody to sleep there!

September 12, 1969: Women Get Permission To Live Off Campus

Now this didn't apply to freshmen but it sure was something a number of the coeds of the Class of 1973 eventually took advantage
of for living arrangements. And to think, just a few years before, VU coeds were not allowed to wear shorts or pants on campus.

September 16, 1969: Freshman Say Parietals Now!

A lot of us were outraged to learn when we got to campus that opposite-sex dorm room visitation was set to begin in all campus dorms, except for freshmen. We raised hell, and demanded equal treatment.

October 17, 1969: Frosh Parietals To Begin For Spring Semester

We win! Parietals is a right every freshman class has enjoyed ever since we came to campus and demanded it 35 years ago. That is, except for Stapleton Hall, which voted not to implement parietals, earning the ever-lasting nickname, at least for our class, of "Sterile Stapleton."

November 4, 1969: Committee Begins Research, Planning for Co-ed Dorm

Another campus housing innovation which began back in our day. Landon House was the first co-ed dorm on campus, but soon others, like Carmichael Towers, would follow in the next few years. But across Tennessee not everyone liked co-ed dorms. In fact, by our senior year, in the winter and spring of 1973, the State General Assembly considered a bill to ban co-ed dorms, and finally passed it in 1974. Fortunately, Governor Winfield Dunn vetoed the measure and it stuck.

December 16, 1969: Manager Refuses Service: Youth Picket Pancake Pantry

It's always been a great place to eat in nearby Hillsboro Village (with pancakes to die for). But in the fall of our freshmen year, those with long hair were not welcome. That has fortunately long since changed,and the long line you see outside the Pantry today is not a protest, it's just all the folks waiting to get inside to eat!

April 3, 1970: Second Semester Rush Instituted

Another change that began when we came to campus. It was met with cries that it would kill the Greek system. But the University felt it best to give freshman a chance to settle in on campus for a semester before holding rush and that's the way it still is today.

April 21, 1970: Pre-Christmas Exams for 1970-71, PE Out

Remember how you'd forget everything you knew over Christmas break, then have to come back to school in January for final exams? And remember how PE was a required course for all freshmen? Well, that changed after our freshmen year and it probably helped everyone's GPA, if not our waistlines. Why didn't we try to end 8:00 AM classes too?

All in all it was quite a freshman year, especially when you add in the Vietnam Student Moratoriums (October & November 15, 1969); Chicago 7 Attorney William Kunstler speaking at the IMPACT symposium in February (and angering Governor Buford Ellington); the very first Earth Day activities in April, 1970; the Cambodian Invasion/Kent State protests in early May that led the faculty to vote to close Peabody College.

So what are your memories of our freshman year? Please leave your thoughts below.