KST Cover


Matthew Gill, Norma Walker and Alberta (Bea) Patch-Slegaitis photo by Al Karevy '79

One of the happiest workdays I've had in a long time happened at night.

It was the evening of June 4, when we dedicated the new Alumni Center. Hundreds of people crowded the plaza outside the entrance to the building. The air was soft and warm, the light golden as sunset neared. There were speeches – several of them, all joyful, enthusiastic, and short. As the long-awaited moment of the ribbon-cutting approached, three planes flew overhead in tight formation. A flyover! (OK, they might have been practicing for an air show in Keene the next day, but the timing was perfect.)

For those of you who weren't able to be there, the red ribbon draping the door to the new building was cut by a terrific trio of alumni who represented Keene State's complete institutional history: Alberta (Bea) Patch-Slegaitis, 1935 graduate of Keene Normal School and faithful contributor to Class Notes; Norma Walker, 1951 graduate of Keene Teachers College and a friend to all alumni; and Matthew Gill, president of the Class of 2010 and a freshly minted alumnus of Keene State College. People surged into the building, beaming with pride and happiness, greeting old friends and classmates.

Leaving campus that night, I drove slowly through the roundabout. I could see figures silhouetted against the windows of Centennial Hall, Scott Mullett's jazz combo playing in the corner, the chandeliers gleaming, people laughing and talking. It was such a beguiling scene that I drove around twice. The beautiful Alumni Center opens its doors to both the College and the town, a living interface with them and with all 27,000 of you. Welcome home!

This issue illustrates that the spirit of town/gown relations is alive and well in the summer of 2010. Hannah Dale '10 reports on several service-learning projects that directly benefit students and the Keene community. Professor Larry Benaquist, retiring after a distinguished career as founder of the Film Studies program, celebrates the history and personalities of Keene in his work. The phrase "town/gown" takes on a new dimension when the town in question is Washington, D.C., where Dave Wenhold '90 is making his mark while helping Keene State make important connections. And don't forget the Ascutney boulder, a long-time Keene resident (the last 100,000 years or so) whose final resting spot is on the lawn beside the David F. Putnam Science Center.

Speaking for all of us in the Advancement division at Keene State (we are the lucky ones who get to work in this beautiful new building), it was our pleasure to meet so many of you at the building dedication and other Reunion events, and we hope you'll stop by often to visit and share the pride.

Susan Peery, editor