Alumnae celebrate Golden Reunion

Alumnae of the Class of 1965 gather with President Penelope W. Kyle in front of a picture of former Dean M'Ledge Moffett at the Golden Reunion Dinner.

Alumnae of the Class of 1965 eagerly returned to Radford University during Homecoming Weekend to celebrate their Golden Reunion.

Classmates from the then all-female institution, Radford College, gathered at the Governor Tyler House on Oct. 17 for a special reunion dinner, hosted by President Penelope W. Kyle. Forty-eight people were in attendance, including alumnae who have previously celebrated the 50-year milestone.

Kyle welcomed guests to the historic house and explained its significance.

"I think this is a wonderful event that brings many of you back to campus," Kyle said. "We are so glad you are here."

Inside, classmates reminisced about the past and shared fond memories of their alma mater. For some, the recent visit to campus was their first since graduating half a century ago.

"When did they start calling us women?" joked Barbara Jane Bonwell Swain '65, who recalled a different title assigned to the female students in the 1960s.

"We were ladies."

Swain said the ladies followed a strict set of rules, enforced by former Dean M'Ledge Moffett.

"We wore white gloves and absolutely no pants or shorts – just skirts and dresses," she said.

Students had to get approval to leave campus, and they rushed back to make curfew. Their companions, especially if male, also required approval, Swain added.

Walking on the lawn was unacceptable, and "you better have not left a bite of food on your plate if you wanted to be excused from dinner," said Joan Simons Stofka '65.

Despite the many rules, the alumnae agreed that life at Radford College was "a joy."

"We were in a magical time," Swain said.


From left: Brenda Burkett Aust '65, Pat Cox Whitehead '65, Rita Cox Parks '65

Classmates ate together in the one dining hall on campus. They chatted and collected mail in "The Cove," a common area once located in the basement of Norwood Hall. They enjoyed tea time, dances and taking classes in proper attire and etiquette. They formed lifelong friendships and became strong, independent women.

"We found our voice here," said Pamela Boineau Roland '65. "We found our confidence."

On Saturday, while touring campus, Roland found a much different campus than she remembered.

"I was overwhelmed," Roland said. "I was very impressed with the consistency of the buildings. The grounds were well-maintained. It is still such a beautiful place."

Following dinner, President Kyle joined Laura Turk, executive director of Alumni Relations, and Melissa Wohlstein, vice president of University Advancement, in officially inducting the Class of 1965. Each alumna was awarded a medal in honor of their alma mater, a place they still fondly call home.

Oct 20, 2015