|Some of the Class of 1964 reunion participants. Top Row: Robert Naslund, Jim Hagenbrock, Ron Welhaven, Ben Dibble (guest). Bottom Row: Judy Welhaven (guest), Cleo Edeburn, Ellen Hale, Leslie Peterson, and Tom Dibble.|
On October 4, 2014, happiness prevailed as alumni gathered to remember their time together at UMD and to share stories of their lives after graduation. Attending were: Dorothy Anway, Tom Dibble, Cleo Edeburn, Jim Hagenbrock, Ellen Hale, Robert Naslund, Leslie Peterson, Janet Thomas, Ron Welhaven.
Each year the UMD Alumni Association hosts the 50th class reunion as a way to honor a true milestone and invite alumni back to campus. According to Alumni Director Lisa Pratt, when alumni come to a reunion, many of them have not been back for years. "They are always impressed and proud of where they received their education," she said.
This year the graduates came all over the world to share their memories. Here are the stories of two people from the class of 1964.
Leslie Peterson, an elementary education and vocal music major, said, "I am blessed to have all the priceless memories of my time at UMD." Peterson was a member of Angel Flight, a all-women organization focused on helping out the UMD Air Force ROTC program. “We were actually like a sorority that supported ROTC.”
Peterson recalls ROTC events as the “highlights” of her time at UMD. One of her most memorable ROTC moments was on a trip to Denver where she met Bob Hope, a comedian who was noted for United Service Organizations shows to entertain military personnel.
“I said to him, 'Mr. Hope my name is Leslie Peterson,' because his real name was Leslie Hope." That introduction caught Bob Hope's attention and Peterson had the opportunity to tell him how much she appreciated his work with the military.
As a vocal music major, Peterson took part in several musicals at UMD such as “Hansel and Gretel” and “Bye Bye Birdie,” a musical comedy that was inspired by the singer Elvis Presley, “We had lot of fun,” Peterson said.
She has traveled all over the world as a tourist and to work as a missionary. “I have been to Jerusalem 12 times and just got back a month ago,” says Peterson. She ridden a camel in the Sahara, ridden an elephant in Thailand, swam with dolphins in Mexico, caught stingrays in Tahiti, and climbed the Great Wall of China. “I brought my adventures it back to the classroom,” she said. Peterson has taught at the University of Wisconsin Superior for more than 36 years. “I love it here. I even love the weather,” she said.
Thomas Dibble, majored in sociology and was a member of UMD's Air Force ROTC. After graduation, while in the Air Force, he earned a masters degree in public administration from Auburn University and was on active duty and in the reserves for 28 years, retiring as a Lt Colonel. Dibble served as a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. "It is like being an FBI investigator for the Air Force." Dibble was stationed in New York, Bermuda, Texas, Italy and then finally in Alabama. He also recently retired from the Superior Court of New Jersey and resides in Somerville, New Jersey.
“At UMD, I was pretty involved in student life,” said Dibble. “I was junior class president and homecoming co-chair one year.”
Historical events loomed in the lives of the class of 1964. “One memory that always flashes in my mind is the day President Kennedy was assassinated. I thought it was a joke at first, but when I went to class it was confirmed. UMD closed for a few days.”
Dibble is proud of his six children. One son is a submarine officer station in Guam and another is a Minnesota State Senator. Dibble's son Ben accompanied him to the reunion. He is a funeral director in the Twin Cities.
Dibble has suggestions for current UMD students. “Take advantage of all that college has to offer," he said. "Academics are important but extra curricular activities and specialized clubs will round out your education." He speaks from experience when he said, “Embrace life."
Written by Dayae Kim with Cheryl Reitan, October 2014.
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