How I Remember Alfred University

I came to Alfred University in 1940 from Long Island. I had never, ever, been 1800 feet above sea level, never rode a horse, never poached deer, never wore a freshman’s green beanie, never been hazed, rarely went to church, was an indifferent student. I got to Alfred because I was pushed there. Here I studied, no I didn’t study – I simply took the glass course. S.R. Scholes liked the way I interpreted the periodic table and gave me whatever grade I needed to keep up my average. I memorized his book. As a result, I was never unemployed.

On Sayles Street I roomed with the H.O. Burdick Family and Dr. Burdick suggested I drop the glass course and do pre-med. He assured me I could go to Strong Memorial. I stood for hours in front of the machine works on Main Street and marveled at the massive vertical boring mill that they built there.

I visited Dr. Bennihoff, the veterinarian, and watched him castrate young stallions. I worked for Stanley Saunders in his cow barn and learned how to strip the udders of his milk cows. I listened to Robert Luce on Irish Hill who told stories about herding sheep and learned from his son Sandy how to shoe a horse. I bought timothy hay from Irving Palmitter. I kept horses on South Main Street at Mrs. Mamie Vincent Rogers Thomas Armstrong’s barn and watered them in the Kanakadea across the street.

I squired a girl so avidly that her grades declined and she was about to get kicked out, so I went to Dean Dora Degan, who was the Dean of Women, and apologized and got my girlfriend a probation. Then she took up with someone else.

I went to the First Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church regularly, became a member and a friend of Pastor Everett Harris and A.J.C. Bond, Dean of the School of Theology. Today there are many in Alfred who don’t know what a SDB is. Dr. Bond taught me how to back a horse and buggy out of a parking slip on Main Street.

Foo-Chow Sutton showed me how small the world was – he had taught chemistry in China. Later I learned his name wasn’t Foo-Chow – it was Willard, Ph.D.

On Sayles Street I played bridge with Pi Alpha girls and eventually fell in love with one of them, Edith Foster ’47, and we remained married for 60 years, that is until she died in 2009. Of our six children, two went to Alfred, one graduated, she was Theta Chi.

By the time WW II ended, I had attended Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Navy Midshipmen’s School at Columbia. For me, Alfred was the best. Granted, there have been changes in these last 72 years, but by and large the culture of the school, and that of the people it serves, seems a good match. So yes, I took the glass course, but also at Alfred I had a chance to study Ethics, Literature of the Old Testament, Human Genetics, and mostly how to thrive in environments that I was not accustomed to. My thanks to Alfred. It’s been a good life.