Barry McNamara  |  Published June 06, 2023

A Golden Opportunity

Alumni from 1978 and earlier transported back in time to their days as Monmouth students.

OUT AT THE FARM: Educational studies professor Craig Vivian explains to the Golden Scots the dail... OUT AT THE FARM: Educational studies professor Craig Vivian explains to the Golden Scots the daily goings on at the College's farm east of campus, where one of his duties is overseeing the beehives.MONMOUTH, Ill. – The concept of a time machine was a recurring theme at Monmouth College during this year’s Golden Scots Celebration, which welcomed back to campus groups of alumni who graduated 45, 50, 55 and 60 years ago.

“Seeing this place makes me want to start over again as a teenager,” said Linda Cohen Olds ’78 of Diamondhead, Mississippi, who was one of more than 100 alumni and spouses to return for the June 1-4 event.

Ross Hart ’73 of Salem, Virginia, agreed.

“Knowing what I know now as an 18-year-old? I’d be hell on wheels,” he said.

Laura Feinberg ’78 of Teaneck, New Jersey, picked up on Hart’s sentiment, noting the changes that had occurred within herself and her peers over the span of five decades.

“Knowing what I know now as an 18-year-old? I’d be hell on wheels.” Ross Hart

“I was amazed at how much nicer it is to be on campus without all that angst of a 20-year-old,” she said. “We’re all comfortable with ourselves now. When I was a student, I studied all the time. I was also an RA, so there were a lot of people I knew, but only peripherally.”

GOING BACK IN TIME: Judy Guy Casey '78 paused during the Golden Scots Celebration to look thr... GOING BACK IN TIME: Judy Guy Casey '78 paused during the Golden Scots Celebration to look through an old Ravelings yearbook.She said the Golden Scots Celebration provided the time to properly connect.

“I really loved it even more than Homecoming. It was really intimate with a lot of time to spend with classmates. And it was a great time to renew old friendships.”

It was also a great time to learn about new subjects, said Louise Pacholik ’73 of Palmyra, Wisconsin.

“I enjoyed so many of the programs, like the ‘Out of This World’ one (on the Vera C. Rubin Telescope with physics professor Michael Solontoi) and the one on wildfires (presented by Chuck Bushey ’73 of Billings, Montana),” she said. “And it was wonderful to tour the garden and farm.”

HONORED ALUM: Maj. Gen. Philip Killey, an inductee into his alma mater's prestigious Hall of ... HONORED ALUM: Maj. Gen. Philip Killey, an inductee into his alma mater's prestigious Hall of Achievement, presented one of the programs at this year's Golden Scots Celebration, speaking on the importance of the National Guard.During his talk, Solontoi, who is part of the Chile-based telescope project, discussed how the 30-meter telescope, and others like it, serve as a time machine, of sorts, by enabling astronomers to see the universe as it was millions and billions of years ago.

Professor Bob Simmons also addressed the time traveler theme in his talk on the “immersive” experience he tries to create for Monmouth classics students through such things as the foods and materials of the time.

“When we recreate those experiences, that’s as close as we can come to what things were like in ancient Greece and Rome without a time machine,” he said.

Monmouth hospitality

Simmons also shared photos of a recent College-sponsored trip to Greece, where one of the highlights was the “xenia” conveyed by the Greek hosts. Xenia, said Simmons, is a custom of guest-friendship or hospitality believed by the Greeks to be fundamental for civilized life.

The Golden Scots on campus felt the Monmouth College staff members did a pretty good job with xenia, as well.

“They think of everything,” said one alumna as she made her way through the dessert line on a picture-perfect Friday evening, with 1970s selections performed by Brad and Steve Larson playing in the background.

“I was amazed at how much nicer it is to be on campus without all that angst of a 20-year-old. We’re all comfortable with ourselves now.” Laura Feinberg

Dining on delicious offerings, including a “Taste of Monmouth” food truck lunch on Friday, was another theme of the weekend. In fact, just as academic learning has the three R’s, Bill Daniel ’72 of Fairview Heights, Illinois, said the Golden Scots Celebration could adopt an alliterative motto.

“Food, friendship and fellowship,” he said.

It was Daniel’s fourth time on campus in a seven-week span. He also returned for the scholarship luncheon on Scholars Day, for Commencement to hear his friend, former U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, give the main address, and for the 75th anniversary celebration of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Hart was also in a fraternity – Zeta Beta Tau – and he said those Greek life memories were present for him during the weekend.

50-YEAR REUNION: Members of the Class of 1973 pose on the steps of Tartan Terrace, a new portion ... 50-YEAR REUNION: Members of the Class of 1973 pose on the steps of Tartan Terrace, a new portion of Hewes Library, which was constructed during their time as students.“This is my fourth or fifth time back, but my first time in 20 years,” he said Saturday afternoon. “I tell you what – yesterday, sitting in the lounge of The Manor, which used to be our chapter house, I felt at home.

“Coming back to campus like this is one of the best things you can do in retirement,” he continued. “It’s really been remarkable to connect with classmates that I didn’t hang around with when I was a student.”

Although part of the College’s charm is that it hasn’t changed a great deal since he was a student, Hart was pleased that the progress that has been made was done intentionally.

“The growth of the campus is impressive,” he said. “The effort to keep new buildings aesthetically in keeping with the older ones. There’s no aluminum-glass monstrosity in the middle of campus.”

Pacholik was asked what she’d say to alumni considering coming back for the 2024 event.

“I decided to attend because I knew some of my friends were coming back, like Ann (Boley Parker ’73 of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who led a program on playing bridge),” she said. “I haven’t been back in 10 years. Oh, my goodness, the size of it now and the new buildings. But hearing from the students (which she did at a presentation by Doc Kieft research participants), they still have that same spirit. It’s a great experience. The College does a great job.”

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