I’m going to do something a little different here and take it back to 1979.
It innocently started with a conversation on a plane ride to Buffalo last weekend as I finished reading my Rolling Stone magazine.
On the last page, they have a section that shows the top songs from that week during a random year. Since it was February 8, 1979 in the issue I had, I asked my coach where she was at that time and began spouting off the Top-10 songs that week. She admitted to having most of those songs on her iPhone currently with such artists as Chic, Earth, Wind and Fire, Gloria Gaynor and Nicolette Larson.
It continued a few days later when I was I carrying on in a group text exchange with my buddies from Crookston.
I dug out some old photos I discovered in the old online archives at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota, Crookston, and shared them with the group. We were in tears — the good kind — looking at 1979 UMC.
I’m now going to share some of these priceless gems of some of the folks I worked with in my time at Crookston. Though many of the professors that worked at UMC at that time were still around 26 years later when I arrived, these were some that had a direct impact in my education.
I start with Don Cavalier. Though I know the name belonged to Mel Tormé long before, I feel like the nickname “Velvet Fog” amply describes Don here.
Don has been in charge of job placement on campus at UMC for many, many years. There’s not a person in town that Don doesn’t know and his network is vast in the Red River Valley. Once the snow melts, you can catch Don rollerblading through town on nice days.
I follow with Dr. Sue Brorson, the head of the Business Department at UMC. These glasses are so gloriously 70’s they speak for themselves.
Sue, along with advisor Dave Rolling, helped me plan my final semester at Crookston, but she was the one who made it possible for me to take my internship at Harvard as I needed course credit to take the position in Cambridge, finding an independent study route in the curriculum to get me in. That has since paid many dividends in my post-college life and truly meant the world, believe it or not.
I close with probably my favorite person on the Minnesota, Crookston campus, Sonia Spaeth.
Pick a subject or a class in health or art, and Sonia has taught it. She served as the women’s athletics coach for many year’s at Crookston as seen in this photo at an awards banquet. She now serves as an aquatics teacher, dominating water polo games, as well as a health professor. Most importantly, she serves as the art teacher on campus and as an advisor to groups on campus. Sonia was an advisor with the student association my first year on the senate and was my CPR and pottery teacher in my second and third years on campus, respectively.
Her stories about the outdoors, her passion for the arts and her spirit are what made her my favorite professor in college. I loved pottery because it was the only time I could just chill out in class and let my mind go in my 21 credit load my final semester. It was always a reminder to take time doing the things you enjoy, despite being swamped. I can’t say I always do that today, but I’m always reminded of that and Sonia is a big part of that. The UMC luggage tag she got me at graduation has always been a great keepsake, along with the note inside.
It was an awesome time at UMC and I’m sure those pictured in that 1979 yearbook would say the same things about the aforementioned individuals. The little things make a difference in life and in this world, and these individuals know that.