Members of the Class of 1962 Share Their Memories
In 1962, gas on average was 28 cents a gallon, the first Walmart and Kmart stores opened, Brazil won the World Cup in Chile, and folks were bopping to the Beatles and couldn’t get enough of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” on TV. That same year, Radford College graduated a little more than 200 brand new alumnae; proud, educated women who set out to build successful lives and careers.
Fifty years later, the cost of gas is higher, and the TV shows have changed, but the qualities that defined Radford then endure today. Students from the Class of 1962 took time to share some of their fondest memories. Today Radford’s mission and focus on teaching and learning remain the same.
Cynthia Nace Barnes
It was all about the personal interaction with her professors
“I would love to hear what Dean Moffett would say about today’s ladies and cellphone use,” said Cynthia Nace Barnes, a mathematics major who absolutely loved her time at Radford College. According to Barnes, Radford was more than a college education.
“It was as if the faculty and staff were parents who took care of and reared students to be ladies, almost a finishing school.” The cost of attendance also was appealing. In 1962, an out-of-state student paid $858 a year for room, board and tuition, the Maryland native said. That, along with the college’s reputation, “sealed the deal” for her.
During her sophomore and junior years, Barnes had registered to go on a European tour sponsored by the local Methodist church. Ann Trabue, assistant dean of women, heard about this and called Barnes into her office to ask if she had any travel luggage. On hearing that she didn’t, Trabue insisted she take her three-bag canvas set on her trip. “I couldn’t believe she did that.” Later on, Donald Messersmith, associate professor of biology, caught wind of her upcoming trip and invited her to dinner with him and his wife. At dinner, he gave her tips on traveling, maps of Europe and a case for her passport. This was the personal interaction Barnes loved. “I never even had him as a teacher, but that didn’t stop him from taking an active interest in my life. The personal interaction was very special to me.”
It was at the senior breakfast that Dean Moffett left Barnes and her fellow graduating seniors with a special life lesson to take with them. The dean told the story about asking her own mother why she was wearing an old coat to her graduation. Dean Moffett’s mom replied, “Because I used all my money to send you to school!” Moffett told the girls to always remember the sacrifices their parents made for them. Barnes says she has never forgotten Moffett’s message or her own gratitude to her parents for providing her with an education.
Barnes also remembers all the formal teas and dress codes that were in place during her college years. Once a year, students were able to make a formal call to the professors. The young women would put on white gloves and would take their calling cards to the private homes of the professors to have their meeting. “And, of course, white gloves were the norm for most occasions, but if you attended a Virginia Tech football game, you were required to wear hats and heels. You got to wear gloves of any color to the games—that was special!”
Since her time at Radford, Barnes enjoyed a career in teaching and owning her own computer consulting company before retiring. She loves gardening and traveling with her husband, Elwood.
Lorena Roberts McGarvey
You have to appreciate your experience
“Ladies don’t dress this way.” That’s what M’Ledge Moffett, dean of women, said to Lorena Roberts McGarvey on a Sunday afternoon as she was mailing a letter and wearing a trench coat with Bermuda shorts. “My time at Radford College was a wonderful experience, but I was very homesick at the beginning of my freshman year. My mother had to call my housemother to talk with me because I wasn’t used to all the rules and wanted to leave. I’m glad I stayed, because I enjoyed my time and my professors so much, especially John Barker, professor of biology.”
Lorena recalls the time Dean Moffett sat all the girls down and talked to them about how many girls were able to attend Radford only as a result of scholarships. McGarvey couldn’t believe that so many of her classmates required assistance to receive an education. It’s a lesson that has stayed with her ever since. Today, she endows the Lorena Roberts McGarvey Elementary Scholarship and says she encourages her classmates to contribute to it or other areas of importance at Radford University. “As long as you give back, that’s what matters!”
After graduating with a degree in education, McGarvey was offered three jobs, and that’s not all—she didn’t even have to interview with the school districts. “I felt because of Radford’s reputation as a top-notch school, I could teach wherever I wanted, and I did,” McGarvey said. Because of her education at Radford, she enjoyed teaching second through fourth grades for more than 32 years.
Frances 'Kay' Hatter
A few final memories
Seeing students in pajamas at an 8 a.m. class might not be an uncommon sight on today’s campus, but in 1962, PJs and shorts were a big “no-no,” even if they were covered by a raincoat, according to Frances “Kay” Hatter. “The housemothers were strict about the dress codes back then.”
Among Hatter’s other favorite memories was one she wasn’t quite as sure about sharing. However, after some good-natured pressure, she agreed. “All the guys from Virginia Tech would come over, and we were on lockdown, so the girls would throw their undergarments out the window. It was fun, but the housemothers were not amused.” In fact, she remembers back then dates had to meet the housemothers, sign in and sign out before taking girls out.
After receiving her degree in education and minoring in music, Hatter went on to teach second grade and become a church organist. Hatter is also the mother to five children, one of whom went to RU. Karen Russell ’87 was a communication major and now works in Roanoke at VPS Studios, a video production company. Hatter said she is proud of her time at Radford College and, of course, of all her children.
I want to honor my class
Times may have changed, but one thing never changes: RU’s mission to help young people of talent and promise have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams through a higher education.
You may be surprised to discover you don’t need great wealth to make a difference. You can give now with a single cash contribution, give later with a deferred gift or be creative and give a combination of gifts tailored to your financial circumstances. In addition, because all types of giving count toward your class, your gift will help the next generation of educators, leaders and entrepreneurs. To give in honor of your class, visit www.giveto.radford.edu or call 540-831-5407 for assistance.