The Best of Friends
From dorm assignments to teammates to physical and virtual classrooms, readers share the many ways their college friendships began—and how they've endured well beyond their days at Dear Old State.
We were 17-year-olds from New York in the summer of 1961, entering Penn State’s first-ever 10-week term. We had not yet received our high school diplomas, but here we were, college students housed in McKee Hall. So began my friendship with Judy Korn Schreier ’64 Edu.
What a wonderful summer it was, like summer camp with some academics thrown in. Judy patiently taught me to ride a bike, and we laughed when we were pin setters in the semiautomatic bowling alley for girls PE. We became sorority sisters and roommates in the fall of 1962. Living together presented challenges. Sleeping in a cool room with open windows or a warm room with closed windows? Sleeping late with no 8 a.m. classes or an early start to the day? A 5’9” Judy, aka The Jolly Green Giant, and 4’11” Evelyn walking under an umbrella together to campus.
Our friendship continued as we both lived and married in the New York City area. We compared careers and graduate schools, celebrated marriages, births, and our children’s accomplishments.
In May 2021, I visited Judy in Valhalla, N.Y., knowing she had been ill for many years and that her last days were approaching. We shared memories and photos of the good times at PSU. Judy passed away July 31, 2021, 60 years since our first Penn State summer.
Evelyn Boehm Wilson ’64 Edu
I met Donna Malone Reat ’82 Bus my first two days on campus. She was confident, a risk-taker, mischievous; me, not so much. In our first week, she “pennied” me and my roommate in our dorm room; the maintenance man had to get us out. It was the first of many pranks, like leaving “borrowed” kegs in the elevator. In time, she helped me push boundaries a little more, and I helped her push them a little less. She remains my oldest, dearest friend.
Kathy Stripay ’82 H&HD
Dave Goodenough ’68 Sci, John Bozic ’69 Bus and I met as freshmen in West Halls. We quickly became friends and decided to share an apartment our sophomore year. When we said goodbye in 1969, I thought we’d never see each other again. I didn’t realize a lifelong friendship had formed. Since then we’ve assembled for at least one reunion per year. A favorite memory is singing in a hot tub on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. A young woman commented how much she liked our singing. We thanked her and told her we used to be the Young Rascals. She had no idea who the Rascals were. We still laugh thinking about how someday she might hear one of their songs and say, “Hey! I met those guys on a cruise!” We’re in our 70s now and met last fall for our first reunion since COVID-19.
None of us had a brother, yet each of us has two. I can’t image loving real brothers more.
Greg Berry ’69 H&HD
In the first week of freshman year 1965, I was in the West Halls dining room with a group of uncomfortable classmates. To help break the tension, we started naming our hometowns. The responses were all Pennsylvania locales, until one guy answered: “Atlanta.” I asked, “You mean in Georgia?” With typical sarcasm he answered, “Do you know of a different one?” That’s how I met Greg Berry ’69 H&HD. We learned that we’re both musicians: I play guitar and he played bass. Walking back to our rooms, we heard someone playing an organ. Intrigued, we knocked on the door and met Dave Goodenough ’68 Sci. The three of us became fast friends and decided to get an apartment in University Towers for our sophomore year. We formed and reformed several bands, culminating with The Leaves of Grass, which was how I earned my beer money! We reunited last fall, as we have done just about every year since that first chance meeting in Hamilton Hall.
John Bozic ’69 Bus
Franklin Park, Pa.
When I was accepted at Behrend and I received my roommate assignment, I thought the appropriate action would be to write a chatty letter introducing myself to Kim Hirsch from Pittsburgh. I composed a lengthy letter about my likes and dislikes, describing the gap between my two front teeth, my love of the northwest Pennsylvania mountains, my reading preferences, family members, and so forth. When we met in person that fall, her first greeting came with shared laughter about my idiosyncrasies and an immediate bond that has lasted over 45 years. She left Penn State to attend nursing school, but she married Steve Motycka ’76 Bus and remained part of the PSU family. We’ve stayed connected through letters and cards, and we continue to laugh about that first one that brought us together!
Barbara Jolly Bretherick ’77 Lib
Binti Pathak ’13 Bus and I met because of the 2010 Silly Bandz craze—we both had one shaped like a dolphin. A mutual friend snapped a picture of the moment we realized it, and the rest is history. We lived together for two years, and again in Virginia a few years later. During our time as students, we enjoyed time with our roommates, going to football games and THON, and of course Monkey Boys at the Saloon. Our friendship not only gave us amazing memories, it also helped us grow up together. Not many people can say they’ve celebrated 10 birthdays with one another, and each year we
reflect on how we’ve changed and feel blessed that our relationship is a constant.
Amanda Chaiko ’13 Edu
1994. Thompson Hall. University Park. I had just turned out my light and heard a strange rustling near my desk. Upon inspection, I discovered A HAMSTER! Hamsters weren’t allowed in dorms! I chuckled, knowing that not only was this hamster in my room, but I also had my own little furry hamster friend nestled secretively in the bottom of my closet. (I share this story hoping the statute of limitations for unauthorized pets is now up.) I scooped up the little intruder and opened my door. Looking up and down the hall, I noticed the door two rooms down from mine was open. A new resident had just moved in. I knocked and said, “I think this is yours?” From there, a lifelong friendship, built from the sisterhood of illegal dorm hamster ownership, was born. As we continued through college, Aliza Moldofsky Simeone ’97 Agr and I became close friends. I wound up introducing her to Kenneth Simeone ’96 Agr and was asked to be the maid of honor in their wedding. Fast-forward 25-plus years, and we still stay in touch, send each other rodent-themed birthday cards, and try to visit on an annual basis. While our little furry friends are long gone, our Penn State friendship lives on.
Stacey Dorang Peeler ’96, ’12 MS Lib
In September 1963, Harvey Erenberg ’67 Bus, Bill Cowan ’67 Bus, Bob Ross ’67 H&HD, Jim O’Neill ’67 Edu and I moved into the second floor of Centre House in Holmes Hall, our home for the next four years. In October, Bill’s mother sent Harvey $5 to get a birthday cake for Bill. Harvey also got him a birthday card. About a week later Bill, in a last-minute panic, crossed his name off the card and passed it on to me for my birthday. Thus was born a tradition that has continued for 58 years. In the early years, a number of names were added and deleted as the card was passed around, including at least one trip to Vietnam and back. Somewhere in the 1970s or ’80s, the original card was replaced by a Xerox copy, which continues to be the most eagerly awaited piece of mail each year for the five friends. We’ve gathered in person many times over the years, most recently in 2017 for the 50th anniversary of graduation. Each time, it is as if time has stood still.
Charles Bell ’67 Sci
From opposite ends of the state, Lori Chifulini Puzak ’85 Bus and I roomed together for four years and became the best of friends. We were a perfect match as roommates, there for each other through thick and thin. Lori’s dad took me to the interview in Pittsburgh that landed me my first job. We stayed close after graduation through moves, weddings, and raising kids. My family visited hers in Cleveland several times while our kids were growing up. Fate took over once again when our daughters randomly ended up on the same dorm floor for their freshman year in 2012. Anne and Alli also became best friends; we’re enjoying them being in each other’s weddings and having our families together again. Thanks to the computer that brought us together—twice!
Lisa Dobrosky Hartman ’85 Lib
We’ve had no contact since graduation, but the guys I spent fall 1969 through spring 1970 with in Thompson Hall are vivid in my memory. I was their opposite: conservative, narrow-minded and judgmental. They rode me about my desire to be a “frat rat.” However, we eventually became close friends. We drank beer, smoked weed, stayed up late and listened to The Moody Blues, Chicago, and Jethro Tull, all while driving our RA crazy. We laughed, told stories, and enjoyed each other’s company. We participated in the demonstrations against the killings at Kent State and the war. And they became frequent guests at my fraternity over the next three years. Memories fade with age, but my recollection of these guys remains clear. Jon Fabio ’72 Lib, Dave Yaeger ’75 Eng, Les Bentley ’76 H&HD, Jim Cicero ’72 Eng and Mark Sween ’75 Bus may not remember me, but I bet they remember The Wax, and the good times we shared on the second floor of Thompson Hall.
Rick Jilleba ’73 Lib
The Villages, Fla.
How do you find a “nonvirtual” friend when you’re a World Campus student? Taking courses from Japan, with the time differences and language barrier, I did not expect any friendships to form. But one day someone in WC Psychology Club told me there was another Japanese student. I virtually “met” Fujiko Suda ’16 Lib, and we decided to meet up in Tokyo. Both of us were majoring in psychology and holding down jobs, like many WC students. From time to time, we had lunches together to encourage each other.
Our encounter at Penn State was meant to be. Almost a decade before we started college, we had crossed paths when she accompanied an artist from London as an interpreter to visit the company where I worked. Until we met face to face, we had not realized our previous meeting!
Kayoko Suga ’15 Lib
Marilou Blackmore Henry ’69 Edu and I were Newman Club members, and we lived in Delaware House of Runkle Hall. Catholic “folk Mass” was held at Schwab Auditorium, and Marilou needed help with ushering duties. Every Sunday morning she would try to get me out of bed, asking, “Will you usher for me?” I preferred to sleep in and attend the last Mass of the day, but eventually, she wore me down. Marilou and I had many bonding adventures … but our children may read this! She is the godmother of Heather Dickinson ’96 Com, my eldest child.
Marilyn Soisson Buck ’70 Edu
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
I only lived with Suzanne “Zanne” Snyder ’78 Lib for one semester, but that was long enough to become good friends. After graduation, Zanne was relentless about staying in touch. We attended each other’s weddings and talked at least once a month. I was very sad when her firstborn, Henry, died shortly after birth. But she was happy for me when I got pregnant with my second child, and six weeks later, she announced her pregnancy, too. Our kids were born in the fall of 1991.
The following spring, we bumped into each other while attending a La Leche League event. For the next 20 years we visited more regularly, helping each other through the ups and downs of life—children on the autism spectrum, a burst pipe in my house, the death of my husband, big moves, and play dates with our kids.
The last time I heard from her was last spring. We had stopped visiting because of the pandemic, and she told me she was being treated for liver cancer. I listened to her talk about taking care of her family, and how she was looking forward to being cured and turning 65 so she could retire.
I never saw her again, and was not able to say goodbye. Zanne died April 20, 2021. The pandemic meant her family couldn’t have a funeral for her. She was one of the best people I met at Penn State.
Eva Whitley ’77 Lib
On my first day at Penn State I walked into the South Gym at Rec Hall looking for the gymnastics team. I found Bob Emery ’69 Sci working out alone and introduced myself as a gymnast from Rochester, N.Y. Our talents gave Coach Gene Wettstone the opportunity to develop each of us accordingly: Bob became team captain and was honored as the NCAA’s top gymnast, and I served as head manager and team spokesperson. We would study together and do handstand pushups against our dorm walls. Bob became senior class president and was a member of President Walker’s committee addressing unrest during the Vietnam years, selected because he was trusted by both students and faculty. Our experiences as student-athletes laid the groundwork for Bob’s career as a renowned surgeon and my career as an attorney. I’m glad I found Bob as my first and lasting Penn State friend.
Robert Szwajkos ’69 Lib
I first met Carl Christ ’87 Bus when he transferred to University Park our junior year. He was a bit of a wild and crazy dude, as was I at the time, and we quickly became good friends. I remember playing Frisbee on South Halls lawn during spring finals week, with our stereo (I still have one of those!) cranking out R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant, and sacking out to Journey in my dorm room after dinner, before we hit the books. Of course, we tailgated and attended games at Beaver Stadium. Over winter break 1986, four of us crammed into Carl’s trusty Monte Carlo and road-tripped to Florida, seeing Penn State win the national championship over Miami: an unforgettable adventure.
When times were tough—primarily as big projects were due or during finals week—we’d study together and pull the sometimes necessary all-nighter. Mountain Dew and Jolt soda became our friends. We’d blow off steam by working out at the White Building gym and playing racquetball in the IM Building courts.
After graduation Carl moved to North Carolina, but we’ve remained friends and exchange emails several times a week. Our friendship, forged in Happy Valley, remains strong.
Jonathan Nadle ’87 Lib
The summer before my sophomore year, I signed up to work at the dairy barns. I needed a place to live; what could be more convenient than the apartment at the dairy complex? I was apprehensive about having random roommates, but I was encouraged to see a familiar name on the list of students who would be living in the apartment: I had met Alicia Spangler Barterian ’10 Agr through Lutheran Student Community. Living in a tiny, smelly apartment was a bonding experience like no other. The room we shared was the width of a bunk bed, and not much longer. There are very few people I could tolerate sharing such a small space with, but we bonded over shared late-night barn chores, kickball in the parking lot, and navigating our first apartment experience together. We now live far apart, but we maintain the friendship, talking about kids, pets, work, and more. Alicia was my maid of honor and shared the story of our barn apartment days in her toast.
Erin Luley ’10 Agr
Penn State prepared me well for my life’s mission as a nurse. It also brought me a lasting friendship. I studied at Greater Allegheny before transferring to University Park for upper- level courses. I suffered deep apprehension, having never been away from home, but found my way to Hoyt Hall in the dead of winter and settled in. To my relief, I met a student who would become my best friend and lifelong colleague. Holly Cline Cookerly ’75 H&HD, ’97 MEd Edu and I did everything together, including a stint at Hershey Medical Center for our practicums. After all these years and 200 miles between us, we remain the best of friends. Thanks, Penn State, for my education, and for the gift of enduring friendship!
Mary Beth Briggs Lemak ’75 BSN H&HD
I was a junior, having arrived from the York campus, when I met Art Richards ’84 Bus by chance when we crossed paths near the Rathskeller. Art had a golf club logo on his hat that I recognized, so I said hello as we waited for traffic. A quick connection happened and we diverted to the Skeller, where we found we had much in common besides golf: the Steelers, his roots in Grove City, mine in Cambria County, etc. Art was a brother at Delta Chi, and I soon became a brother. Over the years we never lost touch, returning to campus often for football, fraternity happenings, and as our families grew. We helped each other get our professional lives started. I was in Art’s wedding in Meadville, and he is godfather to my oldest son. That friendship stands as one of the most important of my early adult life.
Tom Sposito ’85 Bus
I met Kerry McCann three years ago when she and her mom were trying to find her room during move-in day. I thought I was being helpful with directions, but I got them completely lost in Atherton Hall. She thought it was hilarious, and from then on, we’ve been great friends. We share a birthday, we both love Philly and PSU sports, and we’re passionate about THON. We’ve been there for each other through the stress of classes, time spent in quarantine, being RAs during a pandemic, and all the twists and turns of life. It has been beyond comforting to know she is a text or phone call away. Any random meetup on campus brightens my day. As we approach graduation, I know we will always keep each other in our lives.
Of the 1961 graduating class, 26 attended Penn State on a Navy NROTC scholarship. Our curriculum was augmented by 24 credits of Navy classes, Thursday afternoon drills, and three summer cruises. Upon graduation, we went our separate ways as ship drivers, carrier pilots, submarine commanders, Marines in Vietnam, Seabees, and in Naval Research. The Navy and Marine Corps got their money’s worth from our class: Average active-duty time was more than 16 years!
Thirty-five years later, I took on the task of finding everyone. (Ironically, I was the only one who did not serve due to injuries sustained in a car accident on graduation day.) The group held its first reunion in 1996, using the Nittany Lion Inn as headquarters. We’ve since met up in San Francisco, San Antonio, toured the Marine Museum in Washington, D.C., and had a private tour of Pearl Harbor while in Honolulu. Our 60th, set for last year, was moved to 2022 due to the pandemic. We now meet weekly via Zoom. Of the original 26, 14 remain, and most join the weekly calls: Jim Carnes ’61 Eng, Hearst Coen ’61 Eng, Bob Howard ’61 Sci, ’72 MS Eng, Bill Iams ’61 Eng, Ken Jones ’61 Eng, Greg Kelley ’61 Eng, Bill Kettenring ’61 Eng, John Shrum ’61 Sci, John Spear ’61, ’74 MEng, Charlie Steerman ’61 Sci, Frank Bendrick ’61 Eng, Bruce Fosnocht ’61 EMS, Ed Grubb ’61 Bus, and Fred Phelps ’61 Edu.
Ken Jones ’61 Eng
My fourth roommate was an exchange student from Japan, Chiyoko Yokozawa. She was here for just one year, but we solidified a lifelong friendship over ramen noodles in Simmons Hall. She taught me that slurping your noodles was considered good manners, and I took her to her first American Thanksgiving with my family in Boston. Twenty years later, we are both married with children, and I have hosted her family for many visits here in the U.S. Our daughters have helped each other learn English and Japanese, and our families have enjoyed sharing many American and Japanese customs and traditions. Email, care packages, and visits have kept us connected over the years. In 2015, more than 20 years after leaving the university, we were able to visit our old dorm and share memories of our time at Penn State.
Lori Pratt Buckingham ’94 Edu
Marching band friendships are as fierce as those of siblings or fraternity members. The collection of Blue Banders whose friendship began in the early ’90s, a group known as PSU22Goons, are daily texting friends whose children call us aunt and uncle; whose parents treat us as their own; who tailgate, barhop, and vacation together; and who take no prisoners when it comes to holding each other accountable. The “22” is a tribute to Brian Milne ’96 Lib, a cancer survivor and “just a tough, kick-ass player,” as he is often referred to. Partners introduced to the group must hold their own and be deemed worthy of being offered a second beer. This family celebrates three decades of true loyalty, love, laughter, and lagers through thick and thin.
A person with whom a lot of students made friends at Altoona in the 1960s was administrator Dave Kimmel. Dave was respected as an administrator, but he made college memorable because of the interest he took in students. College traditions such as learning Penn State songs and holding tug-of-wars between freshmen and sophomores over the campus pond made college unforgettable. Dave was “Mr. Penn State” in coming up with ideas to create college memories. He came up with the idea of a Homecoming Revue at Altoona’s Mishler Theater in which students performed songs from Broadway shows. Herman Gibb ’70 Sci, Diana Gibb ’70 Edu, and I
remember the lines from “Gee, Officer Krupke” from West Side Story to this day! Dave didn’t end his ties with Penn State in the 1960s. He continued to be Mr. Penn State Altoona and, while he retired in 2016, he left legacies such as the Polar Bear Plunge at Canoe Creek State Park to support THON, setting the example by plunging in himself. Dave was not only a personal friend but one of the greatest friends Penn State has ever had.
John Gibb ’70, ’72 MPA Lib, ’73 Dickinson
Fairfax Station, Va.
Naomi Mermel Meyer ’56 Edu and I met by accident in the HUB in 1956. She was a senior education major and I was in my first of two years of graduate school studying geography. We hit it off right away and enjoyed our companionship for several months. But a religious difference stood in the way of any permanent relationship. Intermarriages of any type were a very big deal in the Fifties. Fast-forward several decades and at age 65 I learned that as a senior citizen I could join the Alumni Association at half price and, through the Alumni Directory, look up old friends and classmates. I joined, and I did.
Both our spouses had been in poor health and had died. Naomi and I have been living in Pittston for over 10 years now and enjoying our renewed friendship. Naomi tells me that there is a Jewish word, “bashert,” which translates to “soulmate.” We like to think that applies in our case.
Reed Jack Dunn ’55, ’57 MS EMS
Laura Sabolchick ’98 Agr was my sophomore year roommate in Thompson Hall at University Park. She came from Penn State Hazleton and I was already at University Park, but we had a common problem—we were both in search of a roomie. She became my confidant, the one who would make me laugh, who pushed me out of my comfort zone, my wing-woman who was there for me every step of the way. She visited me during my study abroad year in Germany. For a short time, we even shared the same major and although that didn’t last, our group of friends used to say we “shared a brain” when we were together.
She is my lifelong friend, the one who introduced me to my husband, the hostess of our wedding, aunt to my child, the best friend who still lives down the road, the one I talk or text with every day. Having walked through childhood’s gate together at dear old State, we’ve became so much more than I could have ever guessed.
Emily Rimland ’99 Lib
Centre County, Pa.
For a friendship to last over 40 years means it’s a true friendship. I met Julia Donaldson Cederberg ’79 H&HD during our sophomore year at Main Campus after we had both started at our satellite campuses, Julie at York and I at Ogontz (now Abington). Nursing majors went to University Park in our sophomore year and the class was divided into four sections; Julie was in the section ahead of me. Between going to different clinical assignments, such as the Hershey Medical Center, or some of us having classes during the summer, we weren’t always in class together or in the same place. But what we lacked in quantity, we made up for in quality.
A week after our graduation, I attended Julie’s wedding. We both started jobs at the Hershey Medical Center. We may not have shared work time as we were on different units and different shifts, but we shared many different seasons of friendship: bringing a Friendly’s milkshake to Julie after she had her wisdom teeth removed, the birth of Julie and John’s children, moving to different places, Julie as my matron of honor, the deaths of our parents, cancer diagnoses, sharing our families and sharing our wisdom for living life gracefully. Fate put us at Penn State at the same time, and life did the rest.
Carol Witalec Olivieri ’79 H&HD
I met one of my best friends freshman year on the fourth floor of Tener Hall (before it was co-ed). I met more best friends at a brunch at The Deli when we all decided to room together. Everyone knew someone, but nobody knew everyone. At this brunch, we were deciding who was going to bring what to our three-bedroom apartment at U206. That apartment is where all of the memories started, with dancing on the couches to Prince, assigned family dinners, and even a “quote wall” (way before social media).
Today our group picks one home game a year to go to together. It’s the best fall weekend and I look forward to it every year. We all stay in one house so we can eat, drink, and catch up. These friendships have been the best friendships for over 40 years. Thanks, Penn State!
Vicki Klein Allely ’85 Lib
I met one of my closest and dearest friends at Penn State when I was a sophomore and she was a freshman. Cindy Fields Angle ’90 Bus lived across the hall in South Halls and had a roommate she really didn’t click with. We became great friends and roommates for the next two years. We both married a Penn Stater and am proud to say that all of our children also attended or currently go to Penn State. She has a son named Eric, and I have a daughter Erica. We were lucky enough to meet up at the Rose Bowl for a tailgate with our whole crew. We even have season tickets in the same section in Beaver Stadium, and when we aren’t in our seats at the stadium we constantly text our feelings to each other throughout the game. I’m very thankful she moved in across the hall—definitely one of the best things I got out of PSU.
Diane Foley ’89 Lib
In the fall term of 1972, I moved to East Halls after finishing my first term that summer as a freshman. A high school classmate was starting that fall and also living in East Halls. We were not friends in high school but knew of each other. I saw him in the cafeteria and introduced him to my summer friends. We made plans for me to pick him up at his dorm room and head over to our first home football game to sit with our crew. When I arrived, he wasn’t ready and I was in a hurry, so I told him I would meet him at the stadium in the freshmen section. I was about 50 yards from his dorm when I thought, ‘He will never find us.’ I went back and waited for him and we went to the game together. Since that day, Rich Genter ’76 Lib and I have been best friends for 50 years and one thing has never changed: I’m always on time, and he’s always late.
Jay Feldstein ’75 Lib
I met my good friend at the beginning of my junior year, 1970. Blair Morgan ’74 Edu was an incoming freshman and we were in Shunk Hall, two rooms away from each other. We became good friends through living on the same floor and through Campus Crusade for Christ. When I graduated in 1972, I lost track of him. He had continued his education, then went on to seminary. I tried to locate him over the next several years, to no avail.
Twenty-two years later, I was working in HR for PNC Bank and a fellow employee, Mike, mentioned that his dad had worked in HR for Duquesne Light in Pittsburgh. I thought, ‘Wow, my good friend Blair’s dad also worked for Duquesne Light.’ I told Mike this, that his dad must have known my friend’s dad. Mike asked what my friend’s last name was, and before I could answer, the light went on! I replied, “Wait a minute, it’s Morgan—your last name!”
I had known Mike for several years and never knew he was my long-lost friend’s brother. Blair and I finally reconnected and kept in touch with each other for the next 26 years.
Bob Merrill ’72 Lib
We met the first week of freshmen year at Penn State in the fall of 1974. On our first day in Simmons Hall, my roommate Joanie and I met our neighbors, Susan, Mary Jane, and Nancy, who were from Pittsburgh like we were. At dinner that week, a girl named Diane asked if she could sit with us in the dining hall: The Simmons Six were born!
We had some crazy times in Simmons Hall and that hasn’t changed in the last 48 years. We hung out and made popcorn, we talked about boys, and we studied together. We still try to get together at least once every year. We travel to football games and bowl games. We’ve been on a cruise together. We’ve been to weddings, baby showers and funerals. Some of us have Penn State kids. During the pandemic, we made it a point to have Zoom calls every two weeks to catch up, laugh uncontrollably and, most importantly, provide moral support to each other.
Penn State made us—Joan Buddy, Di, Susie, Mur, Foot and Helen—into the people we are today.
Helen Adler ’78 H&HD
In 1972, a few freshmen met in Hamilton Hall in Larch House. We had roommates from our hometowns, as was our choice to stay with what was familiar, but soon we began to bond as Penn Staters. Over the years we mixed up roommates in dorms and apartments, met girls from Thompson Hall and the Altoona campus, and new folks who joined our crew. Our group was ever-changing but has had a stable core: George Wozny ’76 Eng, Ed Torak ’76 EMS, Lisa DiBucci ’75 Edu, Melissa Reese ’77 Edu, Dave Aurand ’76 Agr, Roger Giffin ’77 Bus,
Tom Dershem ’76 Sci, Paula Giffin ’83 Edu, and Mike Borys ’77 H&HD. We imbibed in football tailgates, Gentle Thursday, parties, and of course studies, classes, and labs. We came from all over Pennsylvania and encompassed many majors and interests, but found common bonds and lasting friendships.
On Labor Day weekend 1979, a few years after graduating, we gathered for a reunion and had so much fun we decided to do it every year. Last year we celebrated our 42nd Labor Day Weekend Party.
Tom Giffin ’77 Eng
In the fall of 1978, I met my best friend of 43 years, Francesann Fritz ’79 Agr, at Pedal’s Bike Shop on Beaver Avenue. Fran was having lunch there with her husband, Mike ’76 Lib, ’85 A&A, who was the manager. I was with a friend who knew Mike, and so was introduced to him and Fran. She and I hit it off and have been best friends since that first meeting. Our four children are all Penn State graduates. Through the Fritzes’ many moves, we have remained best friends, talking and texting daily. We have supported each other in good times and bad, through the deaths of our parents, divorce, our children’s marriages, births of our grandchildren, and, most recently, through Fran’s unexpected quadruple bi-pass surgery. She is the strongest person I know and is doing great!
Donna Ricketts ’81 H&HD, ’02 DEd Edu
Boiling Springs, Pa.
Freshman year, 1956, an enduring friendship began between a journalism major from Arlington, Va., and a home art major from West Chester, Pa. Lynn Haner ’60 H&HD and I bonded almost immediately upon meeting each other in our ancient dorm, MacAllister Hall. We roomed together sophomore year, then parted in our junior year when I joined Chi Omega sorority. Over the years, Lynn and I have had a girls’ weekend at Penn State and attended class reunions. In 1988, we spent the month of May driving around England and Scotland. We’ve cruised Alaska with our husbands and more recently traveled with our daughters to New Mexico. When my husband died suddenly, Lynn came to stay for a week. Although we have been apart more than together, through life’s challenges our friendship has been a constant.
Carol Dominick Ellis ’60 Com
West Chester, Pa.
I met Betsy Sawyer Eck ’69 Lib in 1967 when I pledged Gamma Phi Beta. She became a very close sister, bridge partner, roommate, and lifelong friend. She helped me shed my Pittsburgh accent, and we sang together with the Penn State Swingers. We’ve been fortunate enough to continue the friendship post-college even though I moved west in 1970. She and her husband, Scott Eck ’70 EMS, moved for his work a few times, including to the California city next to mine. We’ve connected for Penn State football, at the Jersey Shore and Europe. Over the years we celebrated milestones and mourned the passing of friends. On our last trip, she was there for me when I received word that my partner passed away unexpectedly. She understands loss, love, and friendship. She has never missed sending me a birthday card. I am grateful to have known her all these years.
Judy Donina Wolfe ’70 Lib
Huntington Beach, Calif.
I met Allen “Sats” Satenberg ’65 Bus while rushing Phi Sigma Delta in 1961. My relationship with Sats was special. We bonded in college through pledging, dating, nightly card games, hangin’ at the HUB and of course fraternity parties and football games. After graduation, Sats married the love of his life, Nancy Green ’66 Edu. I was honored to be his best man.
Periodic fraternity reunions kept us in touch, but our relationship changed in 2003 when Sats and Nancy joined my wife, Janis, and me on a three-week trip to Africa. We had never traveled together, but the four of us were great together. In addition to visiting each other’s homes, we have been to Vietnam, Portugal, Croatia, Italy, Morocco, Napa, Nashville-Memphis-New Orleans, Washington State-Oregon, Washington D.C., Penn State and our last trip, in January 2020, to Antarctica. Since we live 3,000 miles apart, traveling is the only way to spend time together.
COVID-19 put our travel plans put on hold, and we started “FaceTiming” every Friday. The calls last over an hour; we always have something to talk about.
Howard Kozinn ’65 Bus
I chose Penn State Behrend because we went to Erie for summer vacations. I met my Perry Hall roommate, Mary Ann Kozlowski ’74 Sci, at orientation. We had many things in common—we were both Polish, Catholic, and studying for medical careers—and became fast friends.
We both lived in Philly when I was a senior and she was in medical school. The best costume party I ever went to was a Halloween party at her apartment. I dressed as a pregnant lady and had offers to check my pregnancy—and the baby! One med student even took my blood pressure.
When Behrend has a reunion weekend, we get together and see old friends. We’ve purchased bricks for the new Mary Behrend Garden for each other and our families, and established a book fund for nursing students in memory of our former Behrend classmate and friend Sally M. Weber, who died of pancreatic cancer. After 40+ years, two girls from Perry Hall consider themselves sisters.
Carol Kieda ’75 Sci
Judith Blom Delach ’73, ’74 MS Sci, is still my best friend 52 years after we met. We were not roommates our freshman year, but we both lived in McKee Hall, and decided to share a room together the next year. We lived all four years in West Halls, and still email, text, or phone each other with news, opinions, and family happenings. Sometimes it’s several times a week, sometimes it’s only once or twice a month, but she’s still “my roommate from college” and I always love hearing from her. Our in-person visits are usually limited to a family occasion, a football game, or the Bloomsburg Fair once a year. When we were young and sassy and still in school, we used to note that the Pioneers all seemed to be old men with white hair and glasses. Now in just a year and a half, we, too, will be Pioneers! I’m so glad we have made the journey together.
Amy Kennedy Davis ’73 H&HD
Long before cell phones, we had to find ways to communicate. Student organizations were located on second floor HUB, and just about every student leader stopped by the HUB at lunchtime to get messages about meetings, committee work, and the like. As a result, representatives from an array of organizations ran into each other, almost daily; their ideas, programs, and initiatives cross-pollinated, and members saw each other day to day. Friendships were formed and continue today—including my friendship with Alvin deLevie ’73 Lib, academic affairs chair for the USG the same time I was president of the Residence Hall Association. Years later, Alvin served as best man at my wedding in Eisenhower Chapel. We still keep in touch, sharing five decades of inside jokes.
Martin Kalos ’72 Bus
Blue Bell, Pa.
In 1969, an eclectic group of freshmen met on the fifth floor of Beaver Hall. We formed a lasting friendship and likened ourselves to a fraternity in the dorms, so we coined the name “The Phyth” to simulate a fraternity on the fifth floor. Many of us got nicknames (Bird, Twiggy, Brat, Kill, Pavlo, Tiny, Goliath, Fountain Mouth, Froggy, Dumbass, Shorty, Red, Weirdo, Worry, etc.), and we bonded through intramural sports. The Phyth was well represented in all IMs, regularly competed for the all-sports championship, and we even had an athletic director to organize everything.
Some Phythians stayed on The Phyth for all four years, while others eventually moved off campus. We graduated in 1973 as engineers, architects, accountants, chemists, veterinarians, physicists, doctors, ministers, law enforcement officers, and foresters. We still communicate and sometimes gather to visit. More than 50 years after that first meeting, we remember the good times and value our Phyth Phriendships.
Rich Killmeyer ’73 Eng
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
I met one of my favorite people in the second week of my freshman year. I am allergic to cigar smoke and can smell a lit cigar a mile away. My soon-to-be friend, Eric Felack ’77 Lib, was walking down the hallway puffing away on his nasty stogie. (Yes, you could smoke in the dorms in 1973.) I had never seen him before and he was almost a foot taller than me, but I grabbed the cigar out of his hand and broke it in half, coughing the whole time. He could have killed me—and probably thought about it—but instead it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. We’ve stayed in touch for the last 48 years. We have met up at PIAA officials conventions, and whenever I attend a professional conference near him, we get together. Eric is one of those special people who always knows the perfect thing to say or do. He truly is the consummate forever friend!
M. Kay Warfel ’76 Edu
West Grove, Pa.
ICS (Individual in a Complex Society) was one of the first co-ed interest houses on campus. Located on the first floor of Leete Hall between 1972 and ’78, ICS shared a sense of community, and there were great RAs who put up with our shenanigans. A group of us got together for the first time in ’96 when most of us had little kids. We managed to score rooms on first floor Leete: It was a special time living the dorm life at an average age of 40. Out of 200 people on our list of former residents, about 60 showed up that first time. We’ve had reunions every five years since, and now we are doing it every two years. It’s always like no time has passed—faces still look like they are 19 to each of us. We have our own Facebook group and fantasy football league: Individuals in a Complex League.
Donna Perichak Gasper ’77 Sci
Mays Landing, N.J.
Paula Berardinelli ’83, ’85 MS H&HD and I created our own Penn State legacy when Philly and Jersey City came together in Happy Valley. We met through ARHS, worked as RAs, and provided service and leadership as “Brothers of the Bone.” We wore our dedicated “beer sneakers” at the Skeller. Paula provided a defrosting station with hot chocolate for my milelong trek across Lot 80 on the way to and from the business school. During our grad school years, I was the happy hour hostess, securing the big table in the Allen Room overlooking College Avenue on Friday afternoons to gather with kindred spirits. We shared many Penn State traditions and even learned how to navigate our way on a golf course with the help of the coaches’ clinics. Our families have shared vacations and other adventures, including visiting the Great Wall while my family was living in Beijing. Through celebrations and the support that comes shining through in times of loss and grief, we are blessed to have a wholehearted and enduring friendship.
Cynthia H. Andrews ’83, ’85 MBA Bus
Fifty years ago I walked into Thompson Hall so excited to finally be at main campus, yet a little scared since I didn’t know anyone, having transferred from another university. I headed to my room, unpacked and sent my parents on their way. My roommate seemed OK, but after a few weeks I realized we were not a match. I had become friendly with my next-door neighbor Beth and her roommate, Nadine, so my mattress and I moved into their room for the rest of the semester. Beth and I roomed together for the rest of our time at Penn State, but most importantly we started a friendship that remains to this day. It’s one that has covered a range of highs and lows: our weddings, the birth of our kids, grandkids, road trips to Penn State and other places, and some not so good times. Although we don’t live as close as we used to, we both know on the other end of the text or the phone is the only person who really knows the history of our lives.
Pat Lichty Kerr ’73 Lib, ’76 MRP Capital
North Wales, Pa.
There was a blizzard coming to State College in February 1983 and I had a weekend planned to visit my high school friend Mary Beth Sager Hume ’86 Sci. A blizzard was not going to stop me. I had left my college in Ohio after the first trimester and was considering transferring to Penn State, so this was a very important weekend for me! I boarded the bus in King of Prussia and somehow arrived in a very snowy State College late Friday night and made my way to East Halls. The weekend was epic, filled with dorm parties and meals, a trip to the Army-Navy store downtown for boots, and snowball fights. The sense of community and spirit was infectious, and I felt like I truly belonged. In March I moved into West Halls as a transfer student, but spent all of my time back at East Halls. I am forever grateful to MB for welcoming me and sharing her friends. I never felt like a transfer student. Thirty-eight years later, they are still my closest circle and I am forever a Penn Stater!
Karen Krischker Moon ’86 H&HD