As the wind blew cold rain outside campus walls on Saturday morning, junior Kalli Alexandrou sat down to a continental breakfast with her grandparents, John and Mary Lintula. John and Mary graduated from UMD 50 years ago. “I always knew that they went here, and that was one of the reasons I looked at UMD,” Alexandrou said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on campus with them before. It’s fun.”
Every year as part of the homecoming celebration, UMD hosts a fifty-year reunion. This year welcomed back the graduating class of 1963.
“It’s been a tradition at homecoming to invite the fiftieth class back,” said Lisa Pratt, UMD’s alumni director. “Some of (the alumni) come back for various reasons, but some have never been back since they left.”
Alexandrou sat with her grandparents in the Garden Room in Kirby Plaza and reminisced about all the changes that have come about with the university over the last five decades.
“(The campus) is huge now,” said Mrs. Lintula. “It’s beautiful. It’s all is connected. A lot of the things weren’t connected back then.”
The buildings on UMD’s campus in 1963 were not connected like they are now. The campus had a lot of wide, open spaces—many of have since been taken up by various buildings and parking lots.
“We talked about (campus) being the tundra,” Mrs. Lintula said. “You would park your car and then have to walk all the way to the gymnasium.”
As the winter months brought the ice and snow, students had to brave the cold to get to their classes.
“I had swimming class in the winter session and an English class that I had to walk outside to after,” Mrs. Lintula said with a laugh. “I was a stupid freshman.”
There has been much more than just landscape changes over the last five decades: the whole college experience has transformed.
“I’ll tell you the biggest change is the expense,” Mr. Lintula said. “I can’t believe how much it costs to go to school now. “
“That’s a major difference,” Mrs. Lintula agreed. “I think it was like $300 for a semester’s tuition.”
“That’s one of my books,” Alexandrou replied in disbelief.
As UMD grew in size, the class sizes did the same.
“I wonder if you guys can get to know the professors like we did,” Mr. Lintula said. “We had smaller classes than you guys. Years after we left, we would run into our professors, and they would remember us. I don’t know if it’s that way now, or not.”
This year’s fiftieth reunion had an average turnout compared to other years, according Pratt. Around a dozen alumni participated in the celebration. The day started with the breakfast held in the Garden Room and was followed by a tour of the campus.
The alumni then met for lunch at the Bulldog Club Lounge at Malosky stadium. They wrapped up the homecoming festivities with a private dinner.
“(UMD) was a good school,” Mrs. Lintula said. “We used to have balls and dances and lots of fun activities on campus. It was nice.”
“I wish I could see what the campus looked like when they were here,” Alexandrou said.
“We had yearbooks,” Mrs. Lintula said. “I’ll let you look at them.”
By GRAHAM HAKLA