100 Great Things About Keene State College
Your fondest mememories, funniest stories, biggest heroes, and more
Remember the Old Student Union and Pub?
In 1969, the Student Union set up shop in the building that housed Spaulding Gym, now Rhodes Hall.
The three-floor structure included a bookstore, a candy store, a coffee shop (usually with Lindy, Kiki, or Mert Chakalos behind the counter), administrative offices, and space for the yearbook, the Equinox, WKNH, the print shop, and of course a little socializing.
The sound of dribbling basketballs was replaced by the sound of music and dancing feet when the gym (the original Mabel Brown Room) was utilized for functions and popular dances.
Three years later, the Pub opened for business on the first floor. Catering to a large student population (the legal drinking age at the time was 18), the Pub became the hot spot on campus, especially on weekend nights when a big band was in town.
Students readily plunked down $5 for a membership card, said Lillian O'Reilly, who helped sell cards at the time. The Pub served its last drink in 1992.
Night Owl Café
Depending on the time of day (or night), the Night Owl Café transforms itself from luncheonette to comedy and dance club to sports bar. "It's a unique spot on campus that offers a little bit of everything," said program coordinator Gino Vallante '97. According to Vallante, the live comedy shows draw the biggest crowds.
From material worthy of The Gong Show to emotional songs of lost love, open mike gives students a chance to let their hair down and show a different persona. Who's up next? Your roommate could be the next NOC idol.
Adam Wade '98, a showstopper at the NOC for years, took his songs, stories, and shtick from Night Owl to NYC. After graduating, the charismatic Wade headed for the Big Apple, where he has worked on the crew for Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central, and ESPN. Does anyone remember the words to "Computer Lab Girl" or "Winnebago"?
For more than 15 years, the walkways of Keene State have served as a blank canvas for chalk-wielding students to express themselves.
Set for the last Thursday of the spring semester, Chalk Talk has become a last-day-of-class celebration before students hunker down for finals. The event has morphed into an informal party with bands and carnival rides.
At the end of the day, Keene State's sidewalks are a montage of art and expression that lasts until the first rainstorm.
Named for the great military road of ancient Rome, Appian Way has always been the main thoroughfare of the College.
For many years it was also open to automobile traffic. As more vehicles came to campus, it became increasingly dangerous. In the 1970s, two students were struck by vehicles and the Way was referred to as the "Death Zone."
Students held a huge rally in 1979 and collected signatures for a petition to ban motorists on the Way. Their efforts were successful, and it was closed to traffic in 1982.
In the 1990s, Appian Way blossomed into the scenic pedestrian walkway we know today.
Great Track Team
“We have a consistently great track team, without the benefit of a track.”
– Lucy Webb,
College and Media Relations
The Cohen Center for Holocaust
and Genocide Studies
In 1983, Dr. Charles Hildebrandt founded the Holocaust Resource Center at Keene State with the charge, "to remember and to teach."
As the collection of resource materials grew, the Center found permanent space in Mason Library. The hearts and minds of many people have supported the effort over the years, but no one has contributed more in creative energy and financial support than Rick and Jan Cohen. The Center became the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies in 2001.
A second gift from the Cohens, in 2007, gave the College its first endowed chair in Holocaust and genocide studies, enabling the Center to broaden its course offerings to include genocide.
Dr. Henry Knight, the Center's director, explains: "It's important to raise generations who think about the nature of responsibility, who are inclined to interrupt any form of disregarding the other. It's easy to let the status quo roll along, but it is important to raise people who think and resist – and who know what's at stake if they don't."
In 2009, the USNH trustees approved a new major for KSC, a bachelor of arts degree in Holocaust and genocide studies. Former director Paul Vincent has led the effort to expand and shape the interdisciplinary curriculum. The first students in the new major enter the program this fall.