Campus & Community

Alums from 1940s, 50s yield advice to students

Graduates from 50 years ago and beyond celebrated their reunions on campus June 6 with an Emeritus Tea while reminiscing about times when DU had a football team and courses cost a mere $11.

“I’m glad we don’t have present day tuition,” said Margaret Bettinger Weiland (BA ’49). But time has brought one nice change: “Beautiful facilities” like theNewman Center, a venue she frequents to attend music concerts and Bridges to the Future lectures.

Grant Wilkins (BA ’47), who inducted the class of 1958 into the DU Pioneer Alumni Legends Society, said times certainly have changed. “The school we went to back in the day was when internationalization meant coming back from the war” and “the only foreign students [on campus] were Canadian hockey players.”

The renaming of the international studies school to the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and sending more than 70 percent of students abroad are unique tools in building a global university, Wilkins said.

He told approximately 300 alums the University has turned into “something we can be very, very proud of.”

Proud, indeed. Gus Koustas (BSBA ’54) said being in real estate he can “notice the excellent quality of these buildings” on and around campus.

His brother, Tom Koustas (BS ’54), couldn’t help sharing his admiration for former chancellor Dan Ritchie. “He’s such a gentleman, very consistent and a very good, good man,” Koustas said, adding that he believes Ritchie helped DU not only grow the size of the campus, but its scholastic reputation. Ritchie stopped by to mingle with alums at the reception. (Read about Ritchie speaking at the undergraduate commencement).

The brothers said they had both kept in touch with other members of their business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, but were especially happy to attend the event.

Margaret Poremba (BA ’46) agreed it was a special day. “I don’t drive, so I can’t come [to DU] very often,” the 83-year-old said, explaining that it was a real “treat” to see the campus and visit with people she went to school with.

“I have grandchildren that go to DU. I’m very pleased they chose to go here — it’s a good choice,” said Poremba, a former Sigma Kappa and member of the pep club.

Many alums reminisced on the physical changes of DU.

Yvonne Bauer Habel (BA ’53), who lives in Asheville, N.C., says seeing the campus like this “blows your mind,” as she looked around the Ricketson Law Building, where the Emeritus Tea was held. In the 1950s, she recalled, the building was downtown over a butcher shop. “You had to get there by a street car,” she said.

Habel was one of a handful of women at the reception that received a degree in home economics from DU.

The alums were also quick to share advice for current students. “You have to believe in your dreams. Don’t listen to others when they tell you you can’t do it,” Gus Koustas said.

Tom Koustas added: “That, and never give up.”

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