West Hall Memories
Thanks for the article on West Hall. It brings back lots of fond memories of CCHS and RPI. I went to Catholic Central High School for four years. My class was the first to graduate from the new building in North Troy in 1953. My first three years were in what is now West Hall. I remember some fall and spring days watching RPI’s grounds crew cut the lawn by letting their reel mowers roll down the hill and then haul them up by attached ropes to realign them for another pass. In 1953 I entered RPI and graduated with a BChE in 1957. During my time at RPI I had a few classes in West Hall: Geology, Economics, and English. My fraternity (Phi Kappa) used to be located just across the street.
Bill Smith ’57
Howard Henze ’69
The historic photos are fascinating, but raise a question not answered in the article. The pre-1895 exterior view shows two prominent wings, with the central tower area recessed. All the later views, including the current one, show a single prominent central structure with the wings recessed. There must have been a major rebuilding sometime in its history, but when?
Dave Messer ’60
Writer Tom Payne ’86 struck a chord with his essay “In Search of the Chrinitoid” in the Winter issue. Many readers wrote to him, identifying with his devotion to the stainless-steel George Rickey sculpture that resided on campus 1972-84.
As a mechanical engineer, I always wanted to create a piece of similar nature, twisting slowly, silently, randomly in the wind. Haven’t done it yet guess it’ll have to wait a few more years until I retire.
Jeff Gorss ’66
The way you described your obsession, your Googling, your digging and digging, etc., was me exactly. I’m afraid to show your article to my wife, lest she freak. Right now, she thinks I’m the only one in the world like that. Must be that little school in Troy that does it?
I probably could have spent my time getting a reasonably good education at a school where I’d have had a lot more fun than I did at RPI, but every time I talk with a friend from college, the memories and laughs come pouring back.
Dave George ’83
I am currently a senior at RPI, on co-op in Connecticut and staying with an RPI grad. He showed me a copy of the most recent alumni magazine and the article you wrote. Of course when I saw the picture, I recognized the football field in the back and then saw this interesting structure. My first thought was “that’s not there.” I went on to read the article and learned of your discovery of the location of the structure. I read one line in there that I’d like to comment on: “But for the rest of us, it left a huge gap in the middle of campus that remained empty, the threaded bolts protruding...”
As I was reading that I thought to myself, “but there’s something there now.” I’m not entirely sure when the last time you visited RPI, but in 1996, there was a new Rickey installation that was put in and that is still there. As a freshman, I used to stand there and look at the spikes of “Six Random Lines Excentric” sway with the wind and thought it was magic. If you haven’t seen it, I think you should [pictured at right]!
By the way, the Schanzengraben is a water-filled trench outside the fortified wall, since Zurich being a city had a wall for its protection around it. I hope that you can visit Zurich and see the Chrinitoid. It is within walking distance from the center of town.
I was thrilled to see the notes on RPI students making it to Nationals in horseback riding. I actually founded the RPI Equestrian Team back in the fall of 1984 when I was president of the Equestrian Club, which had some 40-50 members. We started out as a group of 13 riders and grew to form complete teams of 20 riders at every show throughout the year. The person who provided a huge impetus to the formation of the team was Mark Buscher ’86, a “local” northern New Yorker who was familiar with the players at the time. Mark was instrumental in getting RPI into the IHSA and gathering the information we needed to get started in the competitions. Debbi Beebe ’86 was our treasurer, and Mike Fallon ’87 our secretary. I acted as captain from 1984-87.
The RPI equestrian team won a Team High Point award and numerous individual Rider High Point awards at various shows from 1984-87. In the spring of 1987, for the first time, we sent two riders to the Regional finals: myself and Pam Pearson ’89. I remember the horse I drew to ride that day he was a big grey gelding named G.H. (for General Hospital yes, those were the ’80s!) who was a dream to ride. Pam and I narrowly missed qualifying for Nationals, as we placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in Intermediate Hunt Seat Equitation. Pam qualified for Nationals (the first RPI rider to do so) in the spring of ’89, but was unable to compete as she was a part-time student that semester.
Congratulations to JoAnn Johnson, Alison Lorig, Mariah Hughlock, and others for making it to Nationals!
Ingrid Pavilanis ’86
Paul Sa ’67
Thanks for your coverage of JumpStart International in the Fall 2004 issue. I received a number of great letters of support, and yes, even checks from Rensselaer alumni in response to the coverage of what we are doing in Iraq! I’m writing to update those who wanted to know what happened next.
After the article came out, I decided that the continued targeting of humanitarian workers, especially those with a Western connection, made it too foolish for me to personally continue operating without armed guards in Baghdad, and rather than do that, I decided to leave the country and leave the management of the organization in local hands. Today, despite many setbacks and continuing death threats, we are attempting to continue to help in the rebuilding of the country. Many brave Iraqis continue the work of the organization, but the outcome of our efforts is uncertain. We hope that the recent election portends progress, but realize that the future in the short term is rather bleak. But with any luck, and with God’s good graces, we hope to continue to provide some light and hope to those who choose the path of building and creation rather than death and destruction.
For more up-to-date info, I refer you to www.jsintl.org.
Sean O’Sullivan ’85
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