Class of 1970 Commencement

Love Letters

Read the words of Class of 1970 alumni, faculty, and friends who found closure and connections—and who just plain had a great time. Visit our guest book to share your own thoughts on the Class of 1970 Commencement Weekend.

Maybe it shouldn’t matter if you never officially walked with your class. Maybe earning your diploma should be enough. Maybe. But it sure felt good to participate in a convocation and commencement that, yes, came 40 years late—but it came. Our Alma Mater, that seemed to move forward leaving the class of 1970 behind, welcomed us home as rock stars. And boy, were we ready to rumble.

The weekend was fun…emotional…exhilarating. It was so much more than I had imagined and hoped for. Thank you to all who played a role in making this event happen and run so smoothly. Thank you, too, to the generous class of 2010 and their parents who embraced us in celebration.

Randye Goodman Sundel, CLA ’70

Congrats to our fellow 1970 graduates at The University of Cincinnati… same story as ours! I had no idea so many schools canceled graduation!

And every time I see something like this, my eyes tear up and I am so grateful for BU! Here’s hoping U of Iowa (and all the other schools that had to cancel) does something for its grads too!!

Leslie Clarke, SON ’70

In early May, 1970, I looked out of my fourth floor dorm window at 191 Bay State Road to see Boston police in full riot gear with billy clubs and dogs marching shoulder to shoulder down what had been for four years a peaceful, beautiful, oasis-in-the-city, tree-lined street. This odd image, coupled with similar events over the previous few days, convinced me that the University was not a safe place to be. Even so, I was so shocked and disappointed that we were being sent home. I was not a protester or demonstrator – to be one at the time would have been a betrayal of my patriotic upbringing and of my fiance who had been drafted to serve in Vietnam and who had suffered a life-altering injury in 1968. Being the first child in my family of seven children to graduate from college, it was a tremendous disappointment to my parents and to me to “leave campus within 24 to 48 hours” with no opportunity to finish student-teaching, to say goodbye to numerous friends, and to graduate with my proud family in attendance. Over the years, what happened in the country and at BU was a story I told numerous times to family, friends and colleagues, often to their disbelief. It wasn’t unusual to see an incredulous “are you sure that happened?” look on their faces. Yes, I was sure.

I have stayed connected to BU over these forty years: attending Sargent luncheons, encouraging a brother (Michael Anastasio ’83) and a daughter (Christine Cayer Needles ’00) to attend Boston University, so I have vicariously “participated” in BU graduation events over time. But the feelings of pride and joy I felt while attending those ceremonies do not compare to the feelings of personal satisfaction I felt on Sunday, May 16, 2010!

As a mother, sister, aunt and high school teacher, I have attended close to fifty graduations in these forty years, even being the faculty guest speaker at several, but never my own college graduation until this wonderful opportunity. The ripple effect of the BU gesture spread far and wide in my little corner of the world here in Maine. When I returned to school, I found my classroom fully decorated by my colleagues with red and white streamers, balloons and Terrier drawings and graduation congratulations! All my high school students wanted to know the details of my experience, so just as a teacher is excited to do, I seized the “teachable moment” and gave an oral history of those tumultuous days in the history of our country.

As of May 16, gone are the “only-class-not-to-formally-graduate-from-Boston University” stories. I have a new, exciting story to tell! Thank you, Boston University, for honoring the Class of 1970 in such a heartfelt, special way! I loved it! And congratulation to all of my fellow classmates, too!!

Andrea Anastasio Cayer, SAR ’70

A class act all the way! Your staff treated us as though we were very special and this extended right through to the seating for the Sunday ceremonies. It was fulfilling to participate in graduation exercises. Graduation hats off to the class of 2010 who made us feel welcome and didn’t mind sharing the spotlight with the “elders.”

Marc Maynard, SPC ’70

My deepest thanks to all of the Boston University staff, faculty, 2010 students, and BU Trustees who welcomed our class back with open arms and made such a memorable weekend a reality. To ride in a cab from Amtrak down Comm Ave and point out to my son Charlesgate Hall (my dorm freshman and sophomore years), my beloved Citgo sign, and arrive at 700 (THE dorm of our time) to stay was almost an out of body experience.

I was so touched at all the little moments, the Welcome back sign in front of 700, walking over to the Student Union and seeing what it looked like now, retracing that daily walk from SON to 519 Beacon (junior and senior year dorm), seeing and hugging SON classmates who still look the same, the slide show, hearing words of affirmation and joy from speakers at the Remembrance Service and the Convocation, singing “Give Peace a Chance”…and most of all, being able to walk in that beautiful red gown onto Nickerson Field. I kept thinking…so this is what it would have been like. And we finally got to smile, and laugh, and celebrate! For whatever reason, this is the way we were meant to have our moment, and I think perhaps, we are better for it.

I know my Mom did see me finally graduate even though she wasn’t there in person…And I can’t describe the glorious feeling to have my son and daughter with me.

Thank you again BU for the chance to experience what so many might take for granted. Thank you BU for the opportunity to fill in an important event that seemed so small but clearly meant so much emotionally. You’ve always been my alma mater…but now, it feels the heart is there.

To all my fellow Classmates of 1970, I wish you Godspeed.

Leslie Clarke, SON ’70

Thank you all so much for a wonderful weekend! Because of this event, I finally got in touch with three of my fellow classmates; the most recent contact I had with any of them was in 1974!! I was able to track down one in Florida, one on the Cape, and one from California. I had such fond memories of these women, and had thougt of them so often over the years, but never made the effort to find them. So the four of us had a great time!! Our group of about 15 in that class aleady were RN’s, and were studying for our BS; some were married, some had children; we all worked while in school. I don;t remember being involved in the protests, etc. All the events of the weekend seemed very well planned and organized; all staff and students were most gracious and helpful. We found ourselves being very emotional at different times during the events–it meant a lot to all of us. On Monday morning, I walked around the campus for awhile, going in and out of buildings and enjoying the beautiful grounds. Thank you again for a wonderful event!! Go Terriers!!

Charlotte DeMarco, SON ’70

What a great weekend! I think that this weekend was even better than it would have been in 1970!! Finally I got to wear my own cap & gown! Back then my folks wanted to to take a photo of me me in my brothers Law School cap & gown from American U.because mine was canceled.

What a hoot, my 88 year old mom and my 29 year old son got to celebrate with me and my roommate from junior and senior year. Revisiting the campus, staying in the dorm, all contributed to a wonderful mixture of past and present. The hippy friends meeting for a gourmet meal at an expensive restaurant, with my son. Driving by the two apartments we lived in; remembering the craziness of May 1970… a wonderful weekend!!!

Faye Hill, SED ’70

The 1970 commencement weekend exceeded all expectations for Carol and for me. There was something very special about reconnecting with friends and classmates from this extraordinary period of our lives and in the life of our country. Thanks to Boston University for treating us all with such dignity and for honoring the passions that were so important to so many of us. Thanks also to the Class of 2010 for sharing your special day with our Class and for honoring us all with a standing ovation. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Boston University community, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of Professor Howard Zinn and of other civil rights activists, anti war activists and others who share a passion for liberty, freedom and equal opportunity and rights for all.

Howard Altarescu, CBA ’70

I would have gone had I lived a bit closer than Iowa City, Iowa. Hope you had a great time! How were the blueberry muffins at 700 Commonwealth Ave? Anyone go sailing on the Charles?

Rody Gessner, CLA ’70

I just want to send my thanks to the BU community for the wonderful weekend given to the class of 1970. I can’t describe the beautiful feeling of homecoming that you afforded us all. It was remarkable that this Grandma was able to feel her youthful exhuberance bubble up and my husband, John (also of the class of 1970) and I will long remember every moment of it. Thank you all.

Jill Holt Horwitz, SED ’70

The light that was extinguished by the tumultous events that led to the banishment of our class from campus in 1970 has been rekindled by the tribute and recogniton that last weekend’s festivities and ceremonies devlivered.

BU- I love you once more. I marvel at the conncection and re-establishment of a relationship with my alma mater. A long awaited sense of closure, healing, rapture and joy reverberated from classmate to classmate as the magical journey progressed from Peter Simon’s photo retrospective to the eloquent Remembrance Service and words of James Carroll at Marsh Chapel, to the love fest that was our class reception, to the beautiful and spirited Class Convocation and finally to being front and center stage at the 137th commencement.

BU’s sincerity and regard for our legacy and accomplishments as a class represented a positive turning point that will hopefully lead to greater engagement and participation of our estranged class. I sincerely thank BU for the opportunity to no longer feel like the “girl interruped” and more like a “proud BU grad.”

Here’s to my fabulous class and a future with BU.
Marsha Halperin Epstein, CAS ’70

Once again thank you for all of your fine work and that of your staff and students and wait staff, the food, etc., etc. that made this weekend meaningful and with class (no pun intended) for the Class of ’70. The Remembrance observance was extremely well done, as was the Convocation and the recognition of our “era” at the Graduation. I know it will translate into more emotional support for BU and very possibly monetary support.

It was wonderful to get together at the Reception and Buffet Dinner with my old well-known Public Relations Professor Gerry Powers who still remembered me and was gracious enough to accept our invitation for dinner. It was he along with the rest of my education and experiences at BU that gave me the basis for working in the public relations field for one year before going to New England School of Law just down the street.

BU was also responsible for the social consciousness which I espoused throughout my practice of law and which I espouse today, along with my continuing close friendships with former roommates.

And it was great reconnecting with my classmates — with whom I had many socially-conscious discussions over the weekend.

Thank you and everyone connected with this weekend for such a meaningful Class of 1970 reunion “graduation.”

Peter M. Beckerman, SPC (COM) ’70

Just want to tell you how wonderful your speech was at the convocation. It was so poignant and entertaining, I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved your comment about it being “your time” now. I might have to quote you on that someday.

I was reluctant to even come back for graduation. I’ve already received a higher degree and I didn’t see the point of returning 40 years later to graduate at this point in my life. But I must say it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a long time. I loved meeting fellow classmates even though I knew none of the people who attended, loved the speeches and just throughly enjoyed the camaraderie among all the attendees. It was a pleasure to share the experience with my husband and son – neither of whom would have been at my graduation had it happened 40 years ago. Both were so proud.

This event was so well executed, everyone involved with the planning should be applauded.

Thank you for that wonderful speech and making the experience so much more meaningful. If the speech is someplace on-line – I’d love to be able to read it again.

My Best Wishes,
Sheri Koones

I want to thank you, the University, President Brown and the Board of Trustees for the wonderful gesture you extended to us, the Class of 1970, this past weekend. I was one of those students who had no interest in attending my graduation back then, and have spent the last forty years totally unconnected to Boston University. You have changed that with your thoughtfulness, your kindness, and your generosity of extending a warm embrace to us, the lost Class.

This weekend was a total act of love, and affection, which was infectious on campus. From your staff to the students, you all made us truly feel like this was out time. During the commencement on Sunday, so many graduates made a point of congratulating us, when it really was their time. You set a tone that was so sincere and honest, that any skepticism on our part was wiped away almost immediately.

I must tell you, that I was moved by it all, and I am not one who lives in the past, so this weekend was not about reminiscing, but rather about moving forward with an Alma Mater now in my life, for the rest of my life.

I have spent the last forty years in broadcasting, recording and being witness to events in the world, as an observer. My instincts told me that this was an event worth observing, and curiosity was the driving force. Well, you got me. I was gently and warmly seduced into the embrace of a friend, and I got lost in it all.

Forty years ago Boston University made a decision which affected my life, and last weekend Boston University made a gesture which will affect the rest of my life. Boston University made the right decision forty years ago, and made the right decision last weekend. I humbly acknowledge you wisdom, affection and your sincere affection for us. It was a total class act, for every moment.

Please pass this note on to President Brown, and Ken Feld, very well done. Bravo!

Henry Maldonado, Boston University Class of 1970

I have to begin by thanking you, the alumni office, the trustees, anyone else who made yesterday possible. It was an amazing day and you all made it look
so easy – the organization was incredible and it was a seamless event. And most important, it was surreal and wonderful.

Beth Bernstein

Just a quick note to say that my wife, family and I had a wonderful time at the 1970 commencement this past weekend. THANK YOU for doing this; it meant a lot to me! On Saturday my wife and I attended the Peter Simon “picture show”, the service at Marsh Chapel, the reception at the library, and the buffet dinner – all were wonderful and done in very good taste. On Sunday other members of my family joined us for the Commencement and were very excited by the ceremony.

I would appreciate getting links to any pictures and videos taken at the event. Some friends have already called me saying they saw videos online, but I have been unable to find any. So please, when you get a moment, please forward me the links. Also, will there be a site to which I (and others) might upload some of the pictures that my family took; it would be great to have a common place for all who participated to share memories. Thank you again for a great job!

Peter Masucci, ENG ’70

As a member of the Class of 1970, I want to send a big thank you to all who helped arrange our belated commencement. Each event related so well to our experiences forty years ago and provided a sense of closure to our years at BU. I attended with three roommates (4 years in Shelton Hall) and when I left Boston on Sunday it was with old memories revived as well as a reminder of the kind of youthful enthusiasm that can truly help make a difference.

Thank you again for the celebration!
Sheryl Cohen Simon

I just had to share these pictures of happiness with you. I know everyone else seemed to be caught up with the 70’s activist deal, but I really got a thrill out of having my children, their wives and husbands, and my grandchildren at my convocation ceremony to see their Dad (Grandfather) actually graduate from BU. What a unique and surreal experience. It was like going back in a time machine so I could share a time in my life with them.

Both my daughters went to BU and that also helped to make it truly a shared experience. Yes, I too have my “Give a peace a chance stories.” Yes, I was at the peace marches, moratoriums, Harvard riot. But being there with my family was the highlight!

Thank you so much for making it a great event. It was a great day for all!

Tom Damigella, Class of 1970

Commencement Weekend for the Class of 1970 was great! Thank you to you and your staff for all of the hard work, planning, coordinating, and getting everything to come together without even a single glitch that any of us attending would even know about. My wife and I attended everything including the service at Marsh Chapel, the cocktail party, the convocation, and the commencement. Being at commencement in the front rows of Nickerson Field was quite a treat! Being honored as a class so many years after graduation brought out such wonderful feelings. BU was so gracious in including our class!

I remember so much of my days at BU as if they just happened. Seeing other classmates, being part of those honored at graduation, and being right in the place I love to be, was so heartwarming. It was also a pleasure to talk to BUToday and ABC Channel 5 about my feelings. I always enjoy coming back and Linda and I try to come to as many things as possible including Alumni Day, Winterfest, and various sports and theatre events. Again, thanks to all of you in the alumni office.

Gary Karelis, SMG ‘70

As Cathy and I related our experience with family members and friends, everyone expressed how special this was for us and how really “cool” it was of the university to put for the time and effort to acknowledge us as a class, each of us individually by having a separate service Sunday AM, and as a part of both a most active and involved generation and student movement. What a great time to both celebrate, reminisce, and reflect on the role that BU played in our lives (not to mention that Cathy and I met at BU and still are together after these years) during these most poignant times in our nations and our history.

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing the photos!
Jim & Cathy (Howe) Probolus, CLA ’70

Just a brief note to express our thanks (Cathy (Howe) Probolus and Jim Probolus – both class of 1970)) for a most special weekend at commencement 2010. We were really treated as valued members of the BU family and the entire staff, students, faculty, guests, and administation all made us feel welcome and at home. Thanks so much for all you did to recognize our class and having a chance to have a graduation ceremony! Is there a way to view the pictures that the photographer who was “assigned to our class” took?

Thanks again for your thoughtfulness and planning!